Neymar stars in Brazil-Colombia pitch-war

August 14, 2016

Neymar scored his first goal of the Rio Olympics to give Brazil a 2-0 win over Colombia and a place in the semi-final of the men’s football tournament on Saturday night.

The Barcelona star scored from a free-kick in the 12th minute, sending a right-footed shot through the wall and into the bottom right corner of the net. 

Luan added the second in the 83rd at the Arena Corinthians with a shot from outside the area, keeping alive Brazil’s hopes of winning the gold medal for the first time.

Brazil captain Neymar celebrates wildly after his side booked their place in the last four of the men's football

Brazil captain Neymar celebrates wildly after his side booked their place in the last four of the men’s football

Neymar netted his first goal of the competition to help the hosts to victory over South American rivals Colombia

Neymar netted the first goal – his first of the competition – to lift Brazil over rivals Colombia

Luan - who plays his club football for Gremio - scored Brazil's second goal as they moved through to the last four

Gremio’s Luan scored Brazil’s second goal to help propel his nation to the last four

It was a feisty affair at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo; pictured is Neymar receiving a yellow card for a poor tackle

FEISTY AFFAIR at the Arena Corinthians, where Neymar received a yellow card for a poor tackle

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:

Brazil beat Colombia 2-0

Honduras beat South Korea 1-0

Nigeria beat Denmark 2-0

Germany beat Portugal 4-0 

In the semi-final, Brazil will play Honduras, while Nigeria face Germany. Both matches will be played on Wednesday night.

The game, a rematch of the 2014 World Cup quarter-final, was heated from the start, with a series of tough tackles flying in from both teams. 

The benches cleared just before half-time after a vicious foul by Neymar, who lashed out after being harassed by opponents nearly every time he touched the ball.

‘They really came playing hard, but we were able to overcome the pressure,’ Brazil forward Luan said. ‘We were able to get the early goal and that helped us come away with a great victory.’

Brazil will face Honduras in the last four, who have reached the Olympic semi-finals for the first time, defeating South Korea 1-0 at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte. 

In the other semi-final match, 1996 Olympic champions Nigeria will face Germany, who are playing at the Olympic tournament for the first time since 1988 – when Jurgen Klinsmann was in the squad. Germany thrashed Portugal 4-0 in Brasilia, while Nigeria beat Denmark 2-0 in Salvador.

The two teams clashed on numerous occasions in their quarter-final match of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The two teams clashed on numerous occasions in their dramatic quarter-final match 

Colombia's players confront Neymar as tempers spilled over during a feisty match, eventually won by Brazil

Colombia’s players confront Neymar as tempers spilled over during the feisty match

Dorlan Pabon (left) argues with Barcelona superstar Neymar after the latter produced a poor tackle in the game

Dorlan Pabon (left) argues with Neymar after the latter produced a poor tackle in the game

Neymar (centre) produced a cynical foul on Andres Roa on 40 minutes during the quarter-final

Neymar quickly tried to flee from the scenes as the Colombia players rushed to confront him

Roa laid stricken on the floor as his Colombia team-mates squared up to their Brazilian counterparts

Coaching staff and substitutes spill onto the pitch as Pabon (left) tries to confront Brazil's players mid-match

BRAZIL’S OLYMPIC WOES

Brazil have never won an Olympic gold medal in men’s football.

They lost the 2012 final to Mexico in London. The five-time world champions also finished second at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Games. The team won the bronze in 1996 and 2008.

Can they go one better on home turf?

Neymar, one of the biggest stars at the Rio Games, was provoked just like he was the last two times the South American rivals met at senior level, including in last year’s Copa America when Brazil lost 1-0 and the Barcelona striker was sent off.

Two years ago, Neymar’s World Cup ended after he took a knee to his back late in Brazil’s 2-1 win over the Colombians. Brazil eventually lost to Germany 7-1 in the semi-finals.

Upset with the way the Colombians were playing against him, Neymar went in hard against forward Andres Roa, a tackle that earned him a yellow card and ignited a brawl involving both benches. 

‘Neymar is experienced and he did well controlling the game,’ Luan said. ‘But the whole team deserves credit for being able to keep it together and get the victory.  

Neymar and Renato Augusto celebrate at the end of the match after Brazil booked their semi-final spot

Goalscorers Neymar (left) and Luan (centre) join Marquinhos to celebrate in front of the partisan home crowd in Brazil

Neymar (second left) is pulled away from danger by a team-mate as tempers threaten to boil over in Sao Paulo
Neymar is pulled away from danger by a team-mate as tempers threaten to boil over in Sao Paulo
Neymar conducts the Brazil-heavy crowd in Sao Paulo after scoring a magnificent free-kick to put his side ahead

‘Now we have to focus on the next two games to be able to reach our dream.’ 

More than 41,000 fans were on hand at the Arena Corinthians, the stadium which opened the World Cup two years ago.

Brazil arrived at the Rio Games heavily favoured to win the Olympic gold, which is the only significant trophy the country hasn’t won in football. 

The hosts struggled in scoreless draws against South Africa and Iraq but recovered with a 4-0 win over Denmark to advance to the quarter-finals. 

Colombia goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla can only watch on as Luan's late strike flies over his head and into the goal

Gabriel Jesus lies on the turf at the Arena Corinthians during the game

Borja Cristian (right) pushes Brazil captain Neymar as he jumps to head the ball 

Neymar celebrates at the end of Brazil's quarter-final win; they are looking to win Olympic gold for the first time ever

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk

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