They were the reluctant hosts and many of the players wanted no part in South Africa's biggest football tournament, yet on Monday, Brazil celebrated a hard-fought win over Peru in the first semi-final of the CONMEBOL Copa America 2021. The defending champions will face either Argentina or Colombia in the final. (More Football News)
The Selecao, chasing their tenth Copa America title, engaged in a cagey clash with Peru, whom they had thrashed 5-0 earlier in their Group B meeting. Lucas Paqueta's 36th strike, after a Neymar move proved enough despite Peru making their own chances at Nilton Santos Stadium, Rio de Janeiro.
Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Paqueta, 23, had also scored the winner in Brazil's 1-0 over Chile in their quarter-final match.
Neymar, who missed the 2019 final against the same opponents due to an injury, beat defender Alexander Callens on the left and set up Paqueta to slot home the goal.
Later, soon after the restart, Gianluca Lapadula forced Ederson to make a save in the 49th minute from a cross. It was probably Peru's best moment in the match.
Earlier, at the opposite end of the pitch, Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese produced a couple of more saves as Neymar and Richarlison came close to scoring.
This was their 50th meeting. Brazil lead the head-to-head record, 36-5, with nine other matches ending in draws.
Peru's last win against Brazil was a 1-0 victory in an international friendly in September 2019 at Los Angeles.