Brazil 3-0 New Zealand - Seleção top Group C with dominating win
Brazil have secured their position as Group C winners after dominating New Zealand 3-0 in Newcastle this afternoon.
Mano Menezes' side have managed to maintain their 100 per cent record during these Olympic Games thanks to goals from Danilo, Leandro Damião and Sandro.
Brazil started the game well and immediately controlled possession with accurate passing and good movement.
Neymar showed his predatory instincts to get behind the All Whites' defence and finish past Michael O'Keeffe but he was frustratingly ruled offside as he ran away in celebration.
The Seleção took the lead in the 23rd minute through Danilo after he played a sublime one-two with Leandro Damião on the edge of the box, which allowed the Porto man to calmly slot the ball past the goalkeeper.
Damião turned from provider to goalscorer just minutes later when some neat passing and a great back-heel from Marcelo beat the defence and allowed the Internacional striker to tap the ball into an empty net.
Brazil continued to dominate possession throughout the first-half, which was almost like a training session at times, as they seemed content knocking the ball around and waiting patiently for chances to come.
Shortly after half-time Tottenham midfielder Sandro added a third to the tally. A brilliant whipped free-kick from Marcelo eluded Damião in the box but the ball found Sandro lurking at the back post, which he slammed into the bottom corner.
In the 60th minute Brazil cleared a long free-kick to Manchester United target Lucas Moura, who was particularly impressive on the right hand side, and started to counterattack. Rafael eventually squared the ball to Neymar, who was yards from an empty net. However, the Santos striker somehow blazed the ball over the crossbar and failed to make it 4-0.
The fans inside the Sports Direct Arena were being treated to a great display of football from the Samba stars, including a beautiful piece of skill from Leandro Damião who flicked the ball over the defender’s head.
The only sour note of the game was that Alex Sandro was shown a red card by referee Bakary Gassama, following two bookable offences. The second of which was given for simulation as he was adjudged to have dived in the Kiwi’s box. Replays suggest there was contact but the 21-year-old midfielder will now have to miss the quarter-final through suspension.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, which frustrated Menezes, Brazil continued to control the game and their well-organised defence were just too strong for New Zealand to create anything going forward.
The full-time whistle blew and Brazil advanced to the quarter-finals with maximum points from three straight wins - including three goals in each game.
The gold medal favourites will remain in the North-East to face the runners-up from Group D, which could be Japan, Honduras or Morocco.