Neymar scores 2 as Brazil routs South Korea 5-1
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A pair of Neymar penalties helped Brazil start its World Cup preparations with a comprehensive 5-1 win over South Korea in an international friendly on Thursday.
English Premier League stars Richarlison, Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus were also on the scoresheet.
It was a chastening evening for the South Koreans with five-time world champion Brazil too strong in all areas of the field.
“Brazil was strong as a team and also as individuals,” said South Korea captain Son Heung-min. “It may have been a disappointing evening for the fans and the players but it was a good opportunity for us to learn ahead of the World Cup.”
Richarlison silenced the 66,000 fans who filled Seoul World Cup Stadium to capacity after just seven minutes with an opportunistic strike. The Everton forward diverted a low shot from Fred high into the South Korean net from close range.
South Korea will make a 10th successive World Cup appearance at Qatar later this year in a group with Uruguay, Portugal and Ghana.
It struggled to get joint EPL golden boot winner Son into the game but was back on level terms on the half-hour with a well-worked goal. Wolverhampton attacker Hwang Hee-chan found Hwang Ui-jo in the area and the Bordeaux striker turned Thiago Silva to fire a shot past the diving Weverton.
Brazil was back ahead three minutes before the break after a penalty was given following a foul on Alex Sandro. Neymar sent Kim Seung-gyu the wrong way to roll the ball into the net. The pattern was repeated just before the hour. The lively Juventus wing back was again brought down in the area and Neymar once more waited for the goalkeeper to commit himself before calmly stroking the ball home for his 73rd goal for Brazil. That’s just four fewer than Pele, Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Neymar was delighted with the applause from South Korean fans when he left the field after 78 minutes.
“It was phenomenal,” Neymar said. “I didn’t expect this reception.”
Coutinho, a replacement for Neymar, added a fourth by smashing a loose ball into the top corner with 10 minutes remaining. In the final seconds, another substitute, Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, completed a perfect evening for the South Americans after running through the backline.
“We made too many defensive mistakes against a strong team and we need to improve,” South Korea coach Paulo Bento said. “The penalties could have been avoided but, while we made mistakes, the players kept going until the end and created opportunities and that is something to take forward.”
Brazil, which will take on Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon at the World Cup, continues its preparations by facing Japan in Tokyo on Monday when South Korea hosts Chile.
Japan beat Paraguay 4-1 in a friendly in Tokyo on Thursday. Kaoru Mitoma, Takuma Asano, Daichi Kamada and Ao Tanaka scored for Japan, whose group in Qatar includes Spain and Germany. Paraguay did not qualify for the World Cup.
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