Russia 2018 Watch: Brazil nick two late goals
PUBLISHED: 16:33 22 June 2018
Brazil and Costa Rica were winless in their opening matches at the World Cup and were both hoping for their first victory of the tournament at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
The five-time winners took the lead in their first match against Switzerland courtesy of a superb first-half strike from Philippe Coutinho but Steven Zuber’s controversial header in the second-half, denied Tite’s side all three points.
Meanwhile Costa Rica were thoroughly disappointing in their Group opener against Serbia and were beaten due to a trademark Aleksandar Kolarov freekick.
In the previous ten meetings between the two sides, the South Americans had triumphed on nine occasions, with their only defeat to the Costa Ricans in the 1960 Pan American Championship.
The Brazilians won their two encounters between the sides at the World Cup in 1990, (1-0) where current Costa Rica manager Óscar Ramírez wore the number 10 shirt for the CONCACAF side, and in 2002 (5-2). However, los Ticos are aiming to make it third time lucky against the Canarinho, who despite being unbeaten in 13 World Cup matches, find themselves without a win in three matches – a game short of their longest winless run between 1974 and 1978.
On the other hand, Brazil had a 100% record in World Cup fixtures played on June 22nd, winning 3-0 against Zaire in 1974 and thrashing Japan 4-1 in 2006, and were looking to maintain that feat, going into the game against Costa Rica.
However, it was the Costa Ricans, who should have opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Celso Borges missed a guilt-edged chance – firing wide in the area from Cristian Gamboa’s pull-back. Gabriel Jesus thought he had taken advantage in the 25th minute, but saw his goal chalked-off for offside.
Los Ticos were doing a good job in preventing Neymar any space and roughed him up on several occasions in the first-half, with referee Björn Kuipers turning a blind eye. But you couldn’t blame him given the reputation of the PSG forward, (whose hairstyle looked like the leftovers of a Chinese takeaway) who has a habit of springing off his diving-board.
Neymar’s theatrics have always been in question and was under scrutiny again in the 78th minute when he went down like a petulant child in the area under minimal-contact from Giancarlo González. Referee Kuipers initially awarded the penalty before reviewing the incident on VAR and overturning his decision.
Time was running out for the Brazilians to find a winner, but in the first of six added minutes at the end of the second-half, Coutinho poked home to put his side in front before Neymar opened his account in this summer’s tournament with a 97th minute tap-in.