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Apr 7, 2013

Neymar bags brace in Brazil friendly

Neymar has responded to critics of his international form, bagging a brace in Brazil's 4-0 friendly win over Bolivia on Saturday.

The Santos striker failed to score in Brazil's recent friendly matches against Russia and Italy but netted his first international goals of 2013 to give Luiz Felipe Scolari's side momentum heading into the World Cup qualifier against Chile later this month.

Leandro Damiao and Palmeiras forward Leandro scored either side of Neymar's double to seal the victory in a friendly used to raise funds for the family of Kevin Beltran, who was killed by a flare during a Copa Libertadores game earlier this year.

Scolari opted for a strong side of home-based players, with Andre Santos, Ronaldinho, Neymar and Damiao all starting while Alexandre Pato was left on the bench.

Damiao opened the scoring for the Selecao just three minutes into the match after latching onto a pinpoint cross from Fluminense's Jean.

Ronaldinho and Jadson provided assists for Neymar's goals, which gave Brazil a comfortable 3-0 lead at half time.

Scolari appeared content to rest on that lead as Damiao and Neymar were replaced in the second half and Bolivia had a clear sight on goal on a number of occasions.

But Brazil's defence stood firm and youngster Leandro scored just minutes into his full international debut to put himself in contention for the match against Chile.

The 19-year-old was pleased to be given a first team opportunity by Scolari.

"It's wonderful. All kids dream of scoring for Brazil," Leandro said. "I played only a few minutes, and I was rewarded with a goal."

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