Lucas Paqueta did it again. Brazil's super substitute, who scored the winner in the quarterfinals against Chile, earned the start against Peru in the semifinals of the Copa America on Monday and delivered the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
It was yet another performance from Brazil where they were wasteful in front of goal as Peru's Pedro Gallese made seven fine saves, but it was more than enough to advance. Peru registered just two shots on goal and gave Ederson little to worry about, aside from a second-half header from Alexander Callens.
Brazil went all "joga bonito" on their opponents in this one, producing numerous highlight-reel skill moves, mostly performed by Neymar. The PSG superstar even pulled off the skill moves on the lone goal, beating a crowd of defenders with a nutmeg before setting up Paqueta's winner. Take a look:
In the end, Brazil manager Tite will be satisfied with the result, but he will surely want to see a more convincing team in the final and not let whoever they face hang around. With three straight games where they failed to score multiple goals, Argentina or Colombia should give them a tougher test than Peru did.
But that Brazil defense continues to let very little get by them, remaining composed for the most part and playing with a mixture of aggression and caution. No matter who they play, Brazil will still be the favorite to win the Copa America, making it back-to-back titles after taking home the trophy in 2019.
Argentina face Colombia on Tuesday night, and final is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Brazil 1, Peru 0 (FT)