Neymar kept his cool to score the controversial penalty that fired Brazil to a 1-0 win over Uruguay in a full-blooded friendly on Friday night. Brazil captain Neymar was subjected to some ferocious fouls from Uruguay as the clash between the South American rivals boiled over at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
But the Paris Saint-Germain striker had the last laugh, netting from the spot late in the second half after Diego Laxalt was harshly ruled to have fouled Danilo.
Brazil are now unbeaten in their last 10 meetings with Uruguay, who haven’t defeated the five-time world champions since 2001.
Brazil, building towards hosting the Copa America next year, take on Cameroon in another friendly in Milton Keynes tomorrow.
It will be their last match of 2018, having recorded five successive friendly victories since losing in the World Cup quarter-finals against Belgium.
“It was a typical South American derby. We have respect for Uruguay. They have dangerous players,” Brazil boss Tite said.
“We managed to control them. This is our third game now without conceding a goal.”
Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez added: “Neymar was playing with freedom. We weren’t controlling him very well.
“But I thought our young team matched Brazil. It’s a shame it comes down to a controversial situation.”
Even on a dank, misty north London evening that was a million miles from the sun-soaked beaches of Rio, Brazil’s global popularity ensured a large crowd braved the elements to see their star-studded line-up.
Neymar was the headline act as the Maracana came to the Holloway Road.
His every touch brought cheers of approval from the crowd and it wasn’t long before he conjured the Selecao’s first chance.
Tripped by Rodrigo Bentancur after a flamboyant run, Neymar picked himself up to take the resulting free-kick and drilled a low shot that forced a good save from Martin Campana.
Neymar thought he had opened the scoring when he slotted home from Filipe Luis’s cross, but his close-range effort was ruled out for offside.
Trying his luck from long range soon after, Neymar whistled a fierce strike just over Campana’s crossbar.
Uruguay were hardly short of star power themselves and the two-time World Cup winners came close to taking the lead in the 23rd minute.
Seizing on Brazil’s careless loss of possession, Barcelona forward Luis Suarez unleashed a dipping shot that was turned over by Alisson Becker.