In what was a deceptively boring match (don’t trust the scoreline), Brazil beat Ecuador by three goals to nil, thanks to a penalty from Neymar, a men sent off for Ecuador, and a brace from young starlet Gabriel Jesus.
The match started off and continued in a combative rhythm, with both teams looking to contest for the ball and dominate the pitch through physicality. This led to 7 yellow cards (including the two that got Juan Carlos Peredes sent off) and a mind-boggling total of 29 fouls.
This led to a pretty even and boring match in the first half, with both teams devoid of sophisticated build-up play (hence Brazil’s ridiculous number of shots from range). Brazil and Ecuador instead looked to their talented wingers to create something from nothing, which saw Jefferson Montero burn Dani Alves on multiple occasions, along with an early dribble that left Casemiro in the dust.
Neymar and Willian didn’t find such individual success, and were often rendered pretty useless due to the lack of support they received. While a lot of this had to do with Brazil’s true lack of shape and support-play, Marcelo’s surprising lack of interest in venturing forward also played a role.
The second half played out in the same way up until the 72nd minute, when Neymar slotted home a penalty that Gabriel Jesus won.
Neymar, de penalidade, abre o placar: Equador 0-1 Brasil. pic.twitter.com/1n7SacOuBB— Guia do Futebol (@OGuiadoFutebol) September 1, 2016
Four minutes later, Paredes got himself sent off and virtually lost his team the game.
With only ten men to play against, Marcelo finally decided to push up the field and Brazil immediately got a goal as a result.
Asistencia de Marcelo a Gabriel Jesús. https://t.co/BwHSnRziug— RealEsparta™ (@RealEsparta) September 1, 2016
Gabriel Jesus, clearly out to make up for his largely anonymous first 70 minutes or so, was the beneficiary, as he scored with an impressive, if slightly lucky, flick. But he wasn’t done there. Bursting with confidence, the youngster smashed in a beauty from the edge of the box.
In all, it was a pretty mediocre performance from Marcelo, Casemiro, and the rest of the team, but they got the win they needed whilst avoiding injuries.
(Here is the full list of international matches involving Real Madrid players)