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Neymar scores again as Brazil beats Italy in Confederations Cup
Dante, who replaced injured starting defender David Luiz in the 34th, put Brazil ahead with a left-footed shot off a rebound from a difficult save by Buffon following a header by striker Fred. Buffon dived to his left to make the stop, but Dante was in position to sidefoot the ball into the net. Dante appeared to be narrowly offside after Fred’s header from the free kick taken by Neymar.
Italy equalized with Giaccherini’s powerful shot into the far corner after receiving an acrobatic pass by Balotelli as he was hit by Dante outside the area. Giaccherini had come on in the 26th to replace injured midfielder Riccardo Montolivo.
Neymar found the net from the free kick after he was fouled just outside the box following a nice run past Italian defenders. Buffon began going to his right and couldn’t get back after Neymar fired the shot away from the wall instead of going over it.
“Neymar can be decisive and that’s what happened with the free kick,” Scolari said. “He had many good quality opportunities but the key thing was when he realized Buffon was taking a step to the side. Only those geniuses who have a notion of what is happening in the match can do that.”
Neymar was replaced in the 69th to a standing ovation by the nearly 50,000 fans packing the Arena Fonte Nova. The recently signed Barcelona player was chosen the man of the match for the third match in a row.
Fred took advantage of a long pass by Marcelo and scored his first goal with a firm left-footed shot into the top of the net after battling with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini inside the area.
Chiellini pulled Italy closer with a shot from near the penalty spot after a corner kick taken by Antonio Candreva, and after the missed chances by Maggio and Balotelli, Fred found the net again off the rebound of Buffon’s save after a shot by Marcelo in a breakaway.
Italy also lost Ignazio Abate because of an injury just 30 minutes into the match.
The teams started without some of their most important players. Italy couldn’t count on midfielder Andrea Pirlo because of a strained right leg muscle, while Brazil was without defensive midfielder Paulinho because of a left ankle sprain. The Italians also missed Daniele De Rossi, who was suspended with two yellow cards.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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