A sluggish start by Brazil in the first half ultimately doomed the favorite, as the Brazilians scored a 2-2 draw with underdog Chile in Wednesday's international friendly in Belo Horizonte.
Chile struck quickly. In the eighth minute, Cesar Cortez popped the ball up to Marcos Gonzalez after a collision at the goal, and Gonzalez happily obliged to head it into the net, giving the Chileans a 1-0 lead early on.
Tom Webber of Goal.com tweeted:
Brazil pushed forward in the 12th minute and Ronaldinho had an opportunity to equalize, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Johnny Herrera.
Chile responded by disallowing Brazil to take momentum back in the 13th minute, as the side's Eugenio Mena and Patricio Rubio threatened at goal (Mena's shot was on target, but saved by goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri).
Brazil came close to equalizing in the 16th minute, but Jadson's attempt hit the post as the Chileans exhaled for a moment.
But after another missed opportunity by Rubio, Brazil finally found its mark. After a corner was awarded to the Brazilians, Rever capitalized with a header off an assist from Neymar in the 25th minute. The Brazilians had equalized after a lackluster start, 1-1.
Neymar threatened the Chileans once again in the 36th minute, but his attempt sailed off target, wasting a prime opportunity to give Brazil the lead.
Football writer Santo tweeted:
After one half, the score was knotted up, 1-1. According to LiveGoals.com, Chile possessed the ball 53 percent of the time in the first 45-plus minutes. The side also got off seven shots (four on target), while Brazil only mustered four shots (three on target).
Scottish ESPN commentator Mark Donaldson wasn't impressed by the Brazilians early on:
The first five minutes of the second half started out sluggishly for Brazil. Chile had the best opportunity early on, but Patricio Rubio once again shot off target in the 50th minute.
But Brazil got a shot in the arm in the 55th minute when Alexandre Pato set up Neymar beautifully and the 21-year-old swung home the goal on the left side, giving the Brazilians the lead, 2-1.
Football writer Santo detailed the shift in momentum:
Jose Pedro Fuenzalida of Chile had a shot in the 63rd minute, but the Brazilian defense made a fine block.
It didn't last long, though. The Brazilians lost the lead in the 64th minute when Eduardo Vargas shocked Brazil with a beautiful long-range goal that swung past Diego Cavalieri's outstretched fingers. Chile had equalized less than 10 minutes after Neymar's fine strike.
Osvaldo had an opportunity for Brazil in the 76th minute, but it was blocked by Chile's defense.
Chile possessed the ball for 56 percent of the match, registering 10 shots (six on target), per LiveGoals.com. Brazil managed just five shots (four on target) in the entire match.
Marcos Gonzalez, Chile: B
Marcos Gonzalez's goal in the eighth minute set the tone for the first half, which happened to be mighty disappointing for the Brazilians. His adept header off a lob from Cesar Cortez shocked the home crowd and gave the Chileans come momentum early.
Eduardo Vargas, Chile: A
Eduardo Vargas' goal from far outside the box was the finest goal of the night. The defense gave him some space, albeit from long distance, and he made Brazil pay, swinging the ball past the diving Diego Cavalieri on the right side.
Rever, Brazil: B
Rever scored one of Brazil's two goals and was the only man to do any damage against Chile in the first half. His header in the 25th minute was a beauty, one of the few beautiful moments for the Brazilians.
Patricio Rubio, Chile: F
Patricio Rubio not only failed to capitalize on his opportunities, three of his shots in the first 50 minutes of action were off line. He didn't even make the opposing goalkeeper save one shot in that span.
With the Brazilians struggling early on, Rubio had several opportunities to put Chile up on top. Brazil was the favorite in this match, but Chile had a chance to steal this one and Rubio's lack of accuracy hurt the side.
Neymar, Brazil: B+
Neymar missed a prime opportunity on a one-on-one in the 36th minute, but he assisted Brazil's first goal and knocked it home in the 55th minute that gave some life to the side after a sluggish first half.