Neymar, Firmino and Coutinho star in Brazil masterclass - in pictures

Neymar, Firmino and Coutinho star in Brazil masterclass - in pictures
Neymar, Firmino and Coutinho star in Brazil masterclass - in pictures

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino scored a brace as Brazil romped to a 5-0 victory over Bolivia in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo.

Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos also got on the scoresheet while star forward Neymar set up two goals in a one-sided encounter that sent Brazil top of the South American qualifying table.

Brazil’s captain put their impressive win down to the single-minded way the five-times world champions approached the match.

"Without a doubt, we have to highlight the fact that we took this seriously," Casemiro said.

"At no time did we try any funny stuff, we were always respectful. That’s football, if you have the opportunity, then try and score more. We took this game 100 per cent seriously."

In a Corinthians Arena deserted due to Covid-19 restrictions, Bolivia showed almost no ambition as Brazil dominated throughout, with PSG's Neymar starting after overcoming a back problem.

Bolivia couldn't get out of their half, or on the ball, as Coutinho and Everton created a slew of chances down Brazil's left.

The pressure told on 16 minutes as Marquinhos headed home after full-back Danilo swung over a cross from the right following a short corner.

Even a first half downpour couldn't dampen Brazil's domination as Coutinho forced a diving one-handed save from goalkeeper Carlos Lampe with a deflected shot.

At times it looked like a handball game with Brazil camped on the edge of Bolivia's box, and the visitors keeping 10 men behind the ball at all times.

But on the half hour, left-back Renan Lodi got in behind the defence and his cross from the left was turned home from barely a yard out by Firmino.

Lampe made a fine one-handed save from a Casemiro free-kick and then smothered a close range finish by Neymar.

By the end of the first half, Bolivia had had less than 20 per cent possession and their only shot at goal was a free-kick from 40 yards by Fernando Salidas that didn't beat the wall.

If there were still any doubts Brazil would stroll to victory, they were dispelled three minutes into the second period when a sublime pass from Neymar presented Firmino with a tap-in from six yards.

On 65 minutes, a cross from Coutinho flew into the net off the unlucky Jose Carrasco's chest.

Coutinho then got on the scoresheet heading home a cross from Neymar from six yards.

Neymar's attempts to join retired great Ronaldo as Brazil's second highest scorer of all time were frustrated by an offside flag and an injury time save by Lampe.

In the night's other match, Atalanta pair Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel fired Colombia to a 3-0 win over Venezuela.

Updated: October 10, 2020 09:46 AM

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