Brazil 1-0 Peru: Paqueta strike books spot in Copa America final

Brazil 1-0 Peru: Lucas Paqueta strikes AGAIN following superb assist from Neymar to book defending champions’ spot in Copa America final, where they will meet Argentina or Colombia in Sunday’s showpiece at Maracana

  • Brazil have reached the Copa America final after overcoming Peru on Monday
  • Peru did well to deal with Brazil’s early onslaught before Lucas Paqueta struck
  • Neymar superbly beat three men before setting up the midfielder to score
  • The host nation will now face Argentina or Colombia in the Copa America final 

Brazil reached the Copa America final after a first-half goal from Lucas Paqueta – his second in two games – gave them a 1-0 win over Peru on Monday.

The host nation will play the winner of Tuesday’s other semi-final between Argentina and Colombia in the title decider at the Maracana stadium on Saturday.

Brazil have won the Copa America every time they hosted the tournament and in the early part of Monday’s match showed exactly why they are favourites to do so again.

Lucas Paqueta’s goal against Peru books Brazil’s spot in Sunday’s Copa America final

The Lyon midfielder (far right) tucks the ball into the back of the net in the first half

Paqueta (right) wheels away in celebration after scoring for a second successive game

Paqueta (left) celebrates with Neymar (right) who did superbly to set up his team-mate

Within the first 20 minutes Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made two point-blank saves in succession from Neymar and Richarlison plus another two blocks when Casemiro tried his luck from further out.

With Paqueta, who scored the winner in their 1-0 quarter-final win over Chile, a standout in midfield, Brazil played some intricate, audacious football, replete with flicks, nutmegs and backheels but it took them 35 minutes to break the deadlock.

Neymar beat three men on the left and clipped the ball across goal for Paqueta to volley home from 10 metres.

‘It was a very tough game, very hard fought,’ Paqueta said.

Neymar, who was often triple-marked, beat three Peru defenders to set up Paqueta to score

The Brazil talisman put on a man of the match display at the Estadio Nilton Santos

Everton misses a chance to score against Peru, as the hosts struggled to get a second goal

‘They are a very strong side but we managed to make it through a difficult spell.’

Neymar was quick to sing his team mate’s praises and said there was more to come.

‘Paqueta is a great player, he’s getting better with each game,’ he added. ‘He had a great season with his club and here he is showing that he can be a very important player for Brazil.’

While Brazil were in the ascendancy in the opening period it was a different story in the second half as the introduction of Marcos Lopez and Raziel Garcia at the break shook Peru awake.

Losing finalists in 2019, Peru pushed forward in search of an equaliser with Gianluca Lapadula forcing Ederson into a key block, with the Brazil goalkeeper looking uneasy on a couple of other occasions.

Peru’s goalkeeper Pedro Gallese (right) makes a fantastic save to deny Neymar (left)

Gianluca Lapadula’s effort is saved by Ederson, who kept another clean sheet on Monday

Peru pinned Brazil back for long spells of the second half but could not make their possession count as the home side extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.

‘I want Argentina in the final,’ Neymar said after the match at the Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. ‘I am cheering for them because I have many friends there. In the final, Brazil will win.’

Argentina and Colombia will play the other semi-final on Tuesday.

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