Brazil came away with a 2-1 victory against Peru in their opening match of Copa America to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 matches in a match that showcased Neymar’s leadership and vision while concomitantly underscoring the death of attacking talent with the squad that Dunga fielded. With the match barely underway, Peru’s Christian Cueva opened the scoring by capitalizing on David Luiz’s weak back pass to Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson. Brazil retained their composure, however, and equalized scarcely two minutes later after a Dani Alves cross found an unmarked Neymar in a center-forward position from which he headed the ball into the back of the net for his 44th goal for the national team. The game continued at an electric pace with Brazil dominating possession and attacking through the center by way of nifty combination play featuring Chelsea’s Willian, midfielder Fred and skipper Neymar, who classically threatened on the left while cutting diagonally inside towards goal at every opportunity.
Peru soaked up the pressure well and attacked on the counter-attack by threatening Brazil’s nascent central defensive partnership between Miranda and David Luiz. Shocked by their early defensive sloppiness, Brazil tightened up defensively with Fernandinho and Elias trekking back to help cover spaces exposed by the team’s attacking forays down the center of the park, with occasional wide play from the likes of Fred, Dani Alves and Filipe Luis. The match continued in much the same vein throughout the second half and Brazil appeared headed for a draw until Neymar, in extra time, deftly found Douglas Costa on the right of the box, who subsequently slid the ball past the Peru goalkeeper’s left hand to give coach Dunga an impressive record of 11 consecutive victories. Brazil fans should be impressed by the cohesiveness and skill of this young team but wary of the lack of a creative playmaker or attacking midfielder to complement Neymar’s brilliance. In today’s match, the Barcelona pair of right full back Dani Alves and Neymar represented the most threatening combination on Brazil’s team and Peru can feel rightly disappointed not to have eked out a draw against the five time World Champions.