Lucas, Neymar give Brazil 2-0 win over Argentina
Young stars Lucas and Neymar scored in the second half as Brazil defeated Argentina 2-0 on Wednesday in an international friendly which featured only domestic players.
The result gives Brazil the Superclassic of the Americas title, a home-and-away series between the South American football powerhouses. The teams drew 0-0 two weeks ago in the first leg at Cordoba, Argentina.
Lucas scored in the 54th minute and Neymar sealed the victory from close range in the 75th.
Brazil controlled possession during most of the match and had most of the significant scoring chances in front of a near capacity crowd of around 43,000 at Mangueirao stadium in the northern jungle city of Belem. Argentina threatened mostly from set pieces.
''Gladly we were able to give back to these fans who were amazing and made a great party for us,'' Neymar said. ''It was wonderful.''
Playmaker Lucas opened the scoring for Brazil after a botched corner taken by Argentina. Danilo sent a long pass to Lucas, who started his run from behind the midfield line and fired a low shot past the goalkeeper into the far corner.
It was the first goal with Brazil for the 19-year-old Sao Paulo player.
''It's great to be able to play with these youngsters,'' Brazil's Ronaldinho said. ''Neymar, Lucas and these other young players are the future of the national team. I'm here to help them with my experience and I think it's working.''
Fernandez had almost scored for Argentina with a right-footed shot from close range in the move that prompted the corner prior to Brazil's goal.
Argentina tried to apply more pressure after conceding the first goal, but it was Brazil that continued to threaten with fast counterattacks.
Neymar, touted as the best player in Brazilian football, added the second goal from about six meters (yards) out, scoring from a left-wing cross by substitute midfielder Diego Souza following a break started by left back Cortes, who played well in his first match in the run on side. The ball deflected on a defender before crossing the goal line.
Brazil came into the match favored to win the friendly as it played at home and with a squad boasting many more established players than Argentina's, including two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho and Neymar.
Neymar threatened from the beginning with his dangerous runs and Ronaldinho had a couple of chances from free kicks. The fans cheered loudly nearly every time they touched the ball at the Mangueirao.
The match was especially important for Brazil coach Mano Menezes, who had been under pressure after disappointing results since he took over the national team following the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Menezes helped Brazil beat teams such as United States, Ukraine, Iran and Romania, but failed when confronting traditional powerhouses - losing to Argentina, France and Germany, and drawing with the Netherlands at home. Brazil also struggled in its first official tournament under Menezes' command, being eliminated by Paraguay in the quarterfinals of the Copa America in July.
Brazil next will travel to play friendly matches against Costa Rica on Oct. 7 and Mexico on Oct. 11.
FC Porto striker Kleber was summoned for the friendlies but sustained a left-shoulder injury in a Champions League match on Wednesday and will likely be dropped from the squad.
As host nation, Brazil does not need to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, so Menezes will have to rely mostly on friendlies to prepare his team for the tournament.