Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

Brazil’s midfielder Casemiro, left, celebrates after scoring an equalizer during an international friendly against Nigeria. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

  • The 27-year-old’s return to Champions League action may now be delayed

SINGAPORE: Neymar limped off injured early on as Brazil played out a 1-1 friendly draw against a spirited Nigeria at the Singapore National Stadium on Sunday.

The five-time world champions fell behind in the first half, but Casemiro's equalizer early in the second period prevented a loss but then  Brazil were unable to leave Southeast Asia with a victory by wasting chances, after also being held by Senegal on Thursday.

Brazil started well, with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino firing just wide in the third minute after a smart turn near the penalty spot.

However, Brazil were dealt a major blow when Neymar limped off in the 12th minute with what appeared to be a left thigh problem — the Paris Saint-Germain striker replaced by Bayern Munich’s Philippe Coutinho to bring a premature end to his 101st international appearance.

Neymar's return to Champions League action may now be delayed, with PSG facing Club Brugge on Oct. 22 after the world’s most expensive player missed the first two games through suspension.

“During the match he felt a muscle injury, so I took him off as a precaution,” Brazil coach Tite said.

“Neymar did not have a muscle issue before the match. I would never start a player if they had a hint of a problem like this, I would never pay that price,” Tite added of the 27-year-old, who has suffered a string of injuries since his move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017.

“My career has taught me that I would never use a player if he was not in condition to play. It would be irresponsible of me to risk a player carrying an injury.”

Neymar will be disappointed he was unable to draw level with Brazil legend Ronaldo, who sits second in the country’s all-time scoring list behind Pele, on 62 international goals this week. But Nigeria provided resolute opposition by working hard to prevent the South Americans from forging many clear openings.

Gabriel Jesus, Firmino and Coutinho all went close for Brazil, but it was Nigeria who took the lead in the 35th minute when Joe Aribo burst through a gap in the South Americans' defence and skipped around Marquinhos before firing low past goalkeeper Ederson from close range.

The smart strike was the English-born player's second goal in two appearance for Nigeria after the Rangers midfielder scored on his debut against Ukraine last month.

A more determined Brazil needed just three minutes after the interval to draw level, however, as Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro slotted home after a Marquinhos header had rattled the crossbar following a well-worked corner.

Brazil ramped up the pressure as the match progressed, stretching the Nigeria defence with sharp passing and clever movement as Casemiro, Jesus and half-time substitute Richarlison all came close to giving their side the lead.

Tite's men poured forward in search of a winner with Coutinho guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity with five minutes remaining when the unmarked midfielder's weak effort was cleared off the line by Semi Ajayi.

"I thought it was a good match for us and we created plenty of chances but just could not get that second goal," Tite added. "We definitely missed Neymar's creativity after he went off."


Bayley to face Naomi at WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh

Updated 22 February 2020

Bayley to face Naomi at WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh

  • The first all-female title bout to take place in Saudi Arabia will form part of a line-up of matches

Bayley will face Naomi for the women’s SmackDown Championship at WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh on Thursday 27 February at the Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard.

The first all-female title bout to take place in Saudi Arabia will form part of a line-up of matches, which also includes Brock Lesnar v Ricochet, Goldberg v "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and much more.

Naomi defeated Carmella to set up the title match against Bayley, and she expressed her delight about heading to KSA for the big event.

“I pushed through, I did what I had to do and the best woman won on the night,” Naomi said.

“I’m so excited and thankful for this opportunity. To be one of the women to go to Saudi Arabia and perform in a championship match is making history,” she added.

WWE Super ShowDownwill feature:

• WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar™ (c) vs. Ricochet™.

• Universal Championship Match: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt™ (c) vs. Goldberg™.

• Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns™ vs. King Corbin™.

• SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day™ (c) vs. The Miz™ and John Morrison™.

• First-ever Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match: AJ Styles™ vs. Bobby Lashley™ vs. Rusev™ vs. R-Truth™ vs. Erick Rowan™ vs. United States Champion Andrade™.

• The Street Profits v Seth Rollins & Murphy

Ticket prices start from 25 SAR and are available via www.TicketMX.com.