Neymar and Fred each found the back of the net in the first half of Sunday’s Confederations Cup Final against Spain, sending Brazil back down the tunnel at the Maracana with a well deserved, if not unlikely, 2-0 lead.
With just a minute remaining in the opening period, Neymar, who had also been instrumental in setting up Fred’s second-minute opener, played a clever ball to teammate Oscar before running into the left-hand channel, receiving the Chelsea playmaker’s exquisite return pass and roofing his finish past a helpless Iker Casillas. GIF via B/R:
Despite controlling large swaths of possession during the middle stages of the period, Spain struggled to create any meaningful goalscoring opportunities, although Pedro might well have found an equalizer had his goal-bound effort not been heroically swept off the line by David Luiz.
Brazil had set the tempo in the early moments of the match with some direct, action-packed attacking play, and before two minutes had ticked off the clock, they found themselves on the scoreboard thanks to Fluminense striker Fred. Per SB Nation:
Spanish defenders Gerard Pique and Alvaro Arbeloa might have done better in clearing Hulk’s ball across the face of goal, but after Neymar failed to connect, Fred, who had fallen to the ground, somehow managed to slice the ball past a diving Casillas and into the back of the net for an early important opener.
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