Gabriel Jesus, 10-Man Brazil Beat Peru 3-1 to Win 2019 Copa America

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2019

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 07: Gabriel Jesus of Brazil competes for the ball with Miguel Trauco of Peru during the Copa America Brazil 2019 Final match between Brazil and Peru at Maracana Stadium on July 07, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

Brazil won the 2019 Copa America after an eventful 3-1 victory over Peru on Sunday. The hosts were in control after Gabriel Jesus assisted the opening goal for Everton Soares, before scoring himself to help retake the lead late in the first half in Rio de Janeiro.  

Jesus' eventful final took a sour turn on 70 minutes, when he was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Carlos Zambrano. Peru were still in it against 10 men thanks to Paolo Guerrero's 44th-minute penalty after video assistant referee found Thiago Silva had handled in the box.

However, Peru couldn't find an equaliser, even with a man advantage, and were punished late on when Zambrano felled Everton in the area and substitute Richarlison converted the spot-kick to end the Selecao's 12-year wait for the trophy.

Brazil set about disrupting Peru early, pressing high up the pitch and defending from the front. Typically, Roberto Firmino did more to carry the fight than most, with the Liverpool forward showing the relentless energy he displays at club level.

Firmino had Peru defenders under pressure, while the pace of Everton and Jesus always threatened to stretch the back line beyond breaking point. So it proved when the latter broke clear and teed up Everton with a pinpoint cross.

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The tournament's breakout star didn't waste his chance and promptly gave the Selecao a deserved lead after 15 minutes.

Peru might have buckled, but Ricardo Gareca's team showed commendable resolve to resist the flicks and tricks Firmino and Co. were unleashing. The Selecao were turning on the style but couldn't conjure enough clear-cut chances to turn the first half into a rout.

Their profligacy was punished when Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva was judged to have blocked a pass into the box with his hand. VAR was needed, but the check proved Silva had illegally derailed a slick Peru move a minute before the break.

Skipper Guerrero held his nerve from 12 yards against the intimidating presence of Liverpool stopper Alisson Becker:

Peru only got to enjoy being level for a matter of moments, as Jesus and Firmino again clicked into gear during first-half stoppage time:

Brazil continued to overrun Peru in the final third after the restart, but a third goal eluded the hosts. The game became fractious and yellow cards were soon dished out to members of both teams, including Silva and Zambrano.

It was the latter who took out Jesus in the 69th minute, prompting the reaction that earned the striker a second booking and an early dismissal.

His exit naturally buoyed Peru's hopes, with Edison Flores soon going close from distance. Yet Peru couldn't get Guerrero and Andre Carrillo involved enough to undermine Silva and a suddenly overworked defence.

Brazil were ultimately worthy winners after combining solidity at the back with ruthless efficiency up top throughout the tournament.

   

What's Next?

Brazil are set to face Colombia and Peru in international friendlies on Saturday, September 7, and Wednesday, September 11.

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