With Neymar’s help, Brazil beats PortugalFOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts - With one of the top players in the world sidelined, another international superstar put on a show.
Neymar scored once and set up Brazil’s other two goals during its 3-1 victory over Portugal in a friendly match before 62,310 fans at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday night.
“He has been playing very well for three, four years,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said through a translator.
“Only once in every 15 or 20 games does he not play what he knows how to do. But normally, Neymar is like this.”
Thiago Silva and Jo also scored for the Confederations Cup champions and 2014 World Cup hosts, who improved to 13-4-3 all time against Portugal.
The result may have been different, though, had Portugal been playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, who was not in attendance as he deals with tendinitis.
The Real Madrid winger and second-highest goal-scorer in Portugal’s history played through pain Friday, according to team doctor Henrique Jones, recording his first international hat trick in a World Cup qualifying victory over Northern Ireland.
The comeback win briefly left Portugal, ranked seventh in the world, atop Group F before Russia moved back in front with a 3-1 win over Israel on Tuesday.
“Naturally, he’s an important player. We’re talking about one of the best players in the world,” Paulo Bento, Portugal’s coach said through a translator.
“Naturally, he has a great influence on the way we play. But we didn’t lose this game due to his absence.”