Neymar becomes youngest to 100 Brazil caps in friendly draw

Neymar has also provided 41 assists. (AP)
Updated 10 October 2019

Neymar becomes youngest to 100 Brazil caps in friendly draw

  • Neymar is one behind Ronaldo but needs 16 to catch Pele who only played 92 matches

SINGAPORE: Neymar became the youngest player to make 100 appearances for Brazil on Thursday but the Paris Saint-Germain forward had to settle for a 1-1 draw as he failed to score in a friendly with Senegal in Singapore.
Roberto Firmino opened the scoring for the Copa America champions with a stunning lob after a Philippe Coutinho lay-off in the eighth minute.
As the half progressed, the livelier Senegal became, driven on by their captain Cheikhou Kouyate.
Famara Diedhiou levelled from the penalty spot just before half-time after Sadio Mane was dragged down in the area.
“The team offered less than what it can produce, we didn’t play and compete to the level we can. It was not a good game from us. We were below our normal competitive level,” Brazil coach Tite told reporters.
Neymar, who was not in the side that won the Copa America in June, had a relatively quiet game but went close with a 67th minute free-kick.
He then teed up Richarlison whose shot from the edge of the box flashed wide.
Ismaila Sarr and Mane both had chances to snatch the game for the Lions of Teranga.
Although he failed to get on the scoresheet, it was still a big day for the 27-year-old, who became one of seven Brazilians to reach 100 caps.
He has scored 61 goals for the Selecao, making him the third highest scorer in the history of his national team.
Neymar is one behind Ronaldo but needs 16 to catch Pele who only played 92 matches. He has also provided 41 assists.
He won an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 but has experienced many disappointments for his national team, particularly at the World Cup.
In 2014, in Brazil, a back injury in the quarter-finals against Colombia prevented him from being on the field for the 7-1 semifinal thrashing from Germany.
He scored twice during the tournament in Russia four years later, but Brazil were dumped out at the quarter-final stage by Belgium.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said that overall he was pleased with Thursday’s outing.
“The players failed to follow their instructions in the first 10 minutes but after that they did everything I asked of them,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t go on to win and I must congratulate my players on doing a great job despite it being just a friendly.
He added: “We are happy to play matches like this against teams like Brazil. Not only will it help us prepare for matches against the very best but it will also help us develop ahead of what we hope will be future matches against very good European and African teams.”


What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.