Brazil beats Italy 4-2 at home

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Brazil beats Italy 4-2 at home

SALVADOR, Brazil - Neymar scored his third goal in three matches and Fred added two others as Brazil showed commanding form to defeat Italy 4-2 and finish top of Group A of the Confederations Cup on Saturday.

Substitute defender Dante opened the scoring from close range in first-half injury time, but Italy equalized through Emanuele Giaccherini’s swift breakaway in the 51st. Dante looked just offside for his goal.

Neymar scored in the 55th with a well-placed free kick shot into the top corner of the net as Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon could only watch, and Fred added to the lead from inside the area in the 66th before Italy pulled closer again with a Giorgio Chiellini goal in the 71st.

Brazil was furious with Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov, who appeared to blow for an Italy penalty but changed his mind and gave a goal when it went in the net a second or so later.

Italy almost equalized when an 80th-minute header by Christian Maggio exploded off the crossbar, and Mario Balotelli just missed with a right-footed shot a few minutes later, but Fred sealed the victory from a Buffon parry in the 89th, another goal that looked offside. Brazil ended with nine points, three more than the Italians. Mexico and Japan had already been eliminated. Brazil needed at least a draw to win the group and likely avoid a matchup with World Cup champion Spain, which leads Group B.

Javier Hernandez sent Mexico home from the Confederations Cup on a high, heading in twice to clinch a 2-1 victory over Japan in their final Group A match.

AP

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