(CNN) – Brazil won their match in the Copa América semifinal 1-0 against Peru on Tuesday at the Estádio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro, which gives them a pass to the final.
The hosts were persistent in the first half, with attempts by both the Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar as of the Everton striker Richarlison in the 18th minute. But Peru’s goalkeeper, Pedro Gallese, was in charge of blocking both players, making key saves throughout the match, despite his team’s defeat.
Brazil ended up opening the scoring thanks to Lucas Paquetá. Neymar outwitted three defenders with deft footwork before crossing the ball to his teammate, who found the back of the net in the decisive 34th minute.
In the second half, Peru pressed for an equalizer, and Benevento forward Gianluca Lapadula forced Ederson to make a decisive save in the 49th minute. However, despite their efforts, Peru failed to seize any chance.
Brazil will win
Reigning champion Brazil, who beat Peru to lift the trophy in 2019, is looking to win its 10th Copa América title, having played nine finals in the last 14 editions of the competition.
The hosts will go on to face the winner of the second semi-final match, on Wednesday, between Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Colombia.
“I love Argentina, I am cheering them on,” Neymar said. “I have friends there, and in the final, Brazil will win.”
Both selections they faced each other for the last time in a Copa América final in 2007, when Brazil beat Argentina 3-0 with two goals from Júlio Baptista and Dani alves, and an infamous own goal from former Argentine captain Roberto Ayala.
A very controversial competition
South America’s premier soccer competition has been marred by controversy, as host Brazil battles for contain the coronavirus pandemic. Until the July 5th, the country has registered more than 18.7 million cases and more than 524,400 deaths.
Public support for the Cup has been divided, and the players have also demonstrated, with Argentine superstar Messi expressing concern for the possibility of contracting the virus while he was with his team.
The players and staff of the Brazilian team published a letter on their social media accounts in June in which they criticized the organization of the tournament, but confirmed their participation.
In June, nine days into the tournament, at least 140 cases of covid-19 were detected among players, members of delegations and service providers, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
The final is scheduled for Sunday, July 11, and the table promises an entertaining match at the emblematic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.