COPA AMERICA - Day 12: Pato, Neymar send Brazil into quarters
Young guns Alexandre Pato and Neymar helped Brazil finish top of their group in the 2011 Copa America on Wednesday. The AC Milan star and Santos whizkid scored two goals each as A Selecao defeated Ecuador 4-2 to finish at the helm of Group B after being held to draws in their first two matches.
Pato opened the scoring in the 28th minute when he headed home Andre Santos' cross from the left before Felipe Caicedo struck back for the Ecuadorians eight minutes later when his shot from the top of the area managed to squirm its way under Julio Cesar to tie it up prior to half-time.
Three minutes into the second half, Neymar restored Brazil's lead when he received a through ball from Pato and managed to slot home in the middle of a group of defenders but again it was a short-lived lead as Caicedo grabbed his second with a neat finish after turning his marker in the 'D' just before the hour-mark.
But from then on it was all Brazil with Pato making it 3-2 minutes later with a pointblank finish after extreme duress following Marcelo Elizaga's parry from Neymar's initial shot before the Santos young gun grabbed his fifth international goal in just his eighth appearance when he finished a storming run from right-back Maicon in the 71st minute.
Mano Menezes' Brazil will now face Paraguay in the quarter-finals after they were held to a 3-3 draw by Venezuela which allowed them to qualify as the second best third-placed team behind Peru.
Venezuela's Salomon Rondon opened the scoring early in the piece with a great finish from way outside the area but Antolin Alcaraz equalised just after the half-hour mark in scrappy fashion after Lucas Barrios' looping header was somehow kept out by Renny Vega.
Barrios put Paraguay ahead in the 62nd minute when he diverted Nelson Valdez' attempt into the back of the net and his side went two ahead five minutes from time through Cristian Riveros who flicked in a header from the front post.
It seems as the Paraguayans were set to pick up maximum points but Venezuela hit back through Miku in the 89th minute before Grenddy Perozo headed home an injury-time leveler.
Venezuela will now meet Chile in San Juan the next phase which is the fourth of four quarter-finals following the Colombia v Peru meeting in Cordoba on Saturday, Argentina's clash with Uruguay in Santa Fe on the same day and the Brazil v Paraguay fixture in La Plata on Sunday.
2011 Copa America - Argentina
Friday July 1Argentina: 1 (Sergio Aguero 75') Bolivia: 1 (Edvaldo Rojas 48') Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata
Saturday July 2Colombia: 1 (Adrian Ramos 45') Costa Rica: 0 (red card: Randall Brenes 27') Estadio 23 de Agosto, Jujuy
Wednesday July 6Argentina: 0 Colombia: 0 Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez, Santa Fe
Thursday June 7Bolivia: 0 (red cards: Ronald Rivero 70', Walter Flores 75') Costa Rica: 2 (Jose Martinez 58', Joel Campbell 78') Estadio 23 de Agosto, Jujuy
Sunday July 10Colombia: 2 (Radamel Falcao 14'/(p) 28') Bolivia:0 Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez, Santa Fe
Sunday July 3Brazil: 0 Venezuela: 0 Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata
Paraguay: 0 Ecuador: 0 Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez, Santa Fe
Venezuela: 1 (Cesar Gonzalez 61') Ecuador: 0 Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta
Monday July 4Uruguay: 1 (Luis Suarez 45') Peru: 1 (Paolo Guerrero 23') Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan
Chile: 2 (Esteban Paredes 66', Arturo Vidal 72') Mexico: 1 (Nestor Araujo 40') Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan
Peru: 1 (Jose Guerrero 82') Mexico: 0 Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Uruguay: 1 (Alvaro Pereira 14') Mexico: 0 Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata