Neymar was on target as Brazil defeated South American rivals Colombia 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament on Sunday.
Captain Neymar’s early goal helped ease the pressure on the host nation on what became a rather tense encounter between two sides hungry to continue their Rio 2016 journeys before Luan made things safe after the break.
Colombia who defeated Nigeria in their final group B game almost opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Brazil goalkeeper Weverton handled a back pass from Rodrigo Caio a little too casually, resulting in a dangerous opportunity for Harold Preciado, who nearly deflected Weverton’s clearance into Brazil’s goal with a sliding challenge.
Tension turned to relief in the 12th minute when Neymar stepped up and converted a free-kick close to 25 yards from the Colombian goal, sending the crowd of 41,560 at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo into a frenzy. Colombia keeper Cristian Bonilla could do nothing about the Barcelona man’s well-placed, curling effort.
Rodrigo Caio nearly doubled the hosts’ lead early in the second half but his headed effort was saved off the goalline by Bonilla. However, in the 83rd minute, Luan sealed A Seleção’s place in the next round with a well-taken, lobbed effort from 20 yards out.
Brazil continue their pursuit of an elusive Olympic gold medal against Honduras in the semi-finals at the historic Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
Earlier on, Honduras progressed to the semi-finals of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, guaranteeing their best-ever finish in the history of the competition, after beating London 2012 bronze medal winners Korea Republic 1-0 in Belo Horizonte.
A second-half breakaway goal by Alberth Elis was enough for Jorge Luis Pinto’s side as Honduran goalkeeper Luis Lopez put in a stunning display to deny the Koreans.