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Vinicius brace helps Brazil to 4-1 Copa America win over Paraguay

Costa Rica are third with one point and Paraguay, who are bottom with zero after two defeats, have been eliminated from the competition in the group stage for only the second time since 2001.
Last Updated : 29 June 2024, 04:31 IST

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Brazil's Vinicius Jr scored twice in his side's 4-1 Copa America victory over Paraguay in a Group D clash in Nevada on Friday, bouncing back from a lacklustre display in his first game of the tournament.

Colombia, who have qualified for the quarter-finals, top Group D with six points after two matches, with Brazil in second on four points.

Costa Rica are third with one point and Paraguay, who are bottom with zero after two defeats, have been eliminated from the competition in the group stage for only the second time since 2001.

This victory marked Brazil's first win in six competitive matches and their maiden competitive win under the management of Dorival Jr, who took charge of the team in January.

From the whistle, Vinicius' pace and trickery posed a constant threat to Paraguay down the left flank, a far cry from his performance in Brazil's 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in their opening group stage match, in which he was largely ineffectual.

Despite Brazil's strong start, it was Paraguay who almost went ahead in the 15th minute as Damian Bobadilla's goal-bound effort took a massive deflection off Eder Militao and nearly wrongfooted Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who showed quick reflexes to keep out the strike.

Brazil earned a 28th-minute penalty for a handball, which was fired wide by Lucas Paqueta, but the midfielder made up for his miss seven minutes later as he set up Vinicius with a first-time pass to cap off a flowing team move.

Girona winger Savio doubled Brazil's advantage after pouncing on a rebound inside the box, before Vinicius stuck out a boot to divert a clearance from Omar Alderete into the net for his second goal of the night in first half stoppage time.

Paraguay got a goal back after the break as Alderete netted a superb long-range, but any hopes of a comeback were swiftly dashed when Brazil were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute after a handball by Mathias Villasanti.

Despite his earlier miss, Paqueta stepped up and made no mistake at the second time of asking to send Brazil's fans at the Allegiant Stadium into delirium.

Towards the end of the match, tempers flared and Andres Cubas was shown a red card after kicking out at Douglas Luiz, with Brazil using their man's advantage to comfortably see out the game and clinch the three points.

"In particular the first half, up to the 40 minutes, it was very even," Paraguay coach Daniel Garnero told reporters.

"I think we created some opportunities. Unfortunately, in the three minutes we got a bit distracted and they scored two goals that made a great difference in the result. And Vinicius is an elite player, no doubt about it."

Brazil next face group leaders Colombia in California on Tuesday, where a draw would be enough to secure qualification for the quarter-finals.

Paraguay face Costa Rica, who retain a slim chance of progressing to the quarter-finals, in Texas.

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Published 29 June 2024, 04:31 IST

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