Copa America: Coutinho runs riot as Brazil thump Haiti

Brazil's Philippe Coutinho (2nd L) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Copa America Centenario tournament football match in Orlando, Florida, United States, on June 8, 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / Gregg NEWTON

Philippe Coutinho scored thrice as Brazil coasted to a comfortable 7-1 victory over Haiti in their second game at the ongoing Copa America tournament during the early hours of Thursday in Orlando.

The victory puts the eight-time Copa America champions in good position to advance to the Quarterfinals when they face Peru on Sunday.

Coutinho had the finishing touch with his first career hat trick, rifling in a 25-yard strike to open the scoring in the 14th minute, then tapping in from close range after a Dani Alves cross and Jonas square pass. He hit for the hat trick in second-half stoppage time with a curling strike from outside the penalty area.

Renato Augusto struck twice for Brazil, heading in a Dani Alves cross in the 35th minute and capitalizing on a turnover in the 86th.

The only negative for La Seleçao in the first half was the yellow card issued to defensive midfielder Casemiro, his second of the competition, which means he will be suspended for Sunday’s final group game.

In the wide-open second half, substitutes Gabriel and Lucas Lima scored for Brazil, set up by passes from Elias and Dani Alves, respectively, before Philippe Coutinho and Renato Augusto added to their tallies.

Haiti did grab a goal to remember in the 70th minute, as substitutes Duckens Nazon and Max Hilaire combined to force Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson into a save, with James Marcelin arriving to crash home the rebound.

Brazil will close group play against Peru in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Sunday, while Haiti will close their first Copa America against Ecuador in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In the other group B fixture, Peru struck twice early, but Ecuador gathered themselves and rallied with two unanswered goals to force a 2-2 draw in the second Group B match for both teams Wednesday in Glendale, Ariz.

Brazil and Peru at tied at four points after two games with Dunga’s men claiming the group summit having scored five more goals than Peru. Ecuador are placed third with two points while Haiti sit bottom of the log with zero point.