Brazil leave it until injury time to score 2-0 win over Costa Rica
Brazil 2 (Coutinho 90’ + 1, Neymar 90’ + 7)
Costa Rica 0
By Caleb Mitchell
A persistent Brazil has triumphed 2-0 over Costa Rica in their round two Group E clash courtesy of late stoppage time goals to Philippe Coutinho and Neymar .
Brazil’s dominance was reflected in statistics that include their 23 shots to Costa Rica’s four, nine shots on target to nil, 10 corners to one and, mostly notably, 732 passes to 271.
Within three minutes the Brazilians made their intentions known as eventual goal scorers Coutinho and Neymar combined early, with Neymar lobbing the ball well over the crossbar after his attacking midfielder’s pass.
Two chances would come to Costa Rica within the next 10 minutes to Gamboa and Borges respectively with a long range shot and header coming close.
Brazil snatched Costa Rica’s temporary momentum back in the 18th minute through a Marcelo set-piece after a foul on Neymar but Miranda couldn’t get past Costa Rica keeper Navas.
The most threatening play of the first half came in the 26th minute as Marcelo dispossessed Costa Rican defenders outside their penalty area and gave an inside pass to striker Gabriel Jesus who buried ball in the back of the net but was ruled offside.
A string of missed chances for the Brazilians would define the rest of the half, as Marcelo and Casemiro continued to provide threatening crosses and passes to attackers in and around the penalty area but Paulinho and Neymar couldn’t find the back of the net.
The second half picked up where the first left off with Jesus hitting the crossbar with a header and Coutinho flashing a shot just wide of Navas’ goal.
Frustration continued to mount for the Brazilians as the match went deep into the second half with Navas saving shots on-goal from Paulinho, Neymar and Casemiro.
Brazil looked like they had a chance to break through but a penalty decision was overturned by the VAR in the 79th minute after Neymar was ruled to have simulated a foul after very light contact from Gonzalez.
The match moved into stoppage time and finally Brazil’s constant pressure paid dividends when Costa’s cross from the left was nodded back across the box by Roberto Firmino and Coutinho pounced from close range to bury the ball past Navas.
Costa Rica committed men forward and it allowed Costa to break down down the right and pick out an unmarked Neymar who tapped in a second late goal from close range.
The 2-0 scoreline sees Brazil climb to the top of Group E, while Costa Rica will be going home after the group stage after two losses from two.