Neymar assists opener in Riyadh
Last Updated: 12/10/18 10:00pm
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus was on target as Brazil beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 in Friday’s international friendly.
Jesus finally opened the scoring shortly before the break and Alex Sandro sealed a routine, if uninspiring, win with a header deep into stoppage-time (90+6).
Brazil had two further efforts ruled out for offside, while Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais was sent off six minutes from time after a video review showed he touched the ball with his hand out of his box.
But despite the indiscretion and the scoreline, the hosts matched their high-profile opponents for prolonged periods, especially in midfield.
“We’re aware we need to get better, that we can do better,” Sandro said. “Obviously the climate was influential, we have new players who need to fit in, but we deserve congratulations.”
Brazil began with Philippe Coutinho, Jesus and Neymar in a three-pronged attack but it took them until the half-hour mark to really trouble their hosts, Al-Owais making a fine acrobatic save to palm Jesus’ header over the crossbar.
The City striker was not to be denied, however, and he opened the scoring after 44 minutes when he raced onto Neymar’s through ball and found the back of the net.
Jesus was one of six Premier League players to feature for Brazil, with City team-mate Ederson, Liverpool defender Fabinho and Manchester United midfielder Fred also starting, with Fred being replaced by Tottenham’s Lucas Moura at half-time.
Everton’s Richarlison made only his third international appearance when he replaced Jesus with 18 minutes remaining.
Moura should have doubled the lead shortly after his introduction but he shot straight at Al-Owais after being set up by Neymar, who saw a 25-yard effort hit the post in the 55th minute.
Al-Owais’ ruined a decent individual performance five minutes from time when he was sent off following a VAR review for handling Richarlison’s shot outside the box.
Sandro made sure of the win for Brazil deep into injury time by heading in Neymar’s corner.
The match in Riyadh was the first of two games in Saudi Arabia for Brazil as they take on rivals Argentina on Tuesday in Jeddah.