Firmino gives Brazil hard-fought victory over Chile at the Emirates

Roberto Firmino scored the only goal of the game as Brazil defeated Chile.

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Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score a second-half winner as Brazil beat South American rivals Chile 1-0 in a friendly at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal were all on display in north London, but the game’s biggest names could only show glimpses of their attacking best and it was left to substitute Firmino to find the decisive goal in the 73 minute.

Since last year’s humiliating exit at their home World Cup, Brazil have now recorded eight successive victories under new manager Dunga, including wins over Colombia, Argentina and France.

The first half failed to match the colorful atmosphere around the stadium before kick-off as both teams struggled to establish a rhythm or create any clear-cut chances.

Instead, the opening 45 minutes was largely characterized by a number of clumsy tackles, with Neymar receiving particularly rough treatment.

Chile’s Gary Medel was the worst offender as he stamped on the Brazil striker shortly before the half-hour mark and would surely have been sent off had it been seen by referee Martin Atkinson.

Medel’s good fortune continued soon after when he misjudged the flight of a cross and handled the ball as he leant down to control, but the offense again went unnoticed.

Moments before Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had been forced to tip Neymar’s in-swinging free-kick away from the far corner and, as half-time approached, Douglas Costa blazed a volley over at the back post when he should have hit the target.

Chile began the second half with more attacking intent, but both sides continued to lack any real urgency.

The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw, but, 17 minutes from time, Brazil found a breakthrough as Danilo sliced open Chile’s back-line with a superb through-ball and Firmino rounded Bravo before slotting into an empty net.

The same duo combined minutes later as a cute flick by Willian set Danilo free down the right and the impressive full-back found Firmino on the edge of the area, but he dragged his shot wide.

Chile pressed for an equalizer and goalkeeper Jefferson had to push a Matias Fernandez free-kick wide in the 84th minute, but there was to be no late drama as Brazil’s post-World Cup resurgence continued.