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Peru 2-4 Brazil: 5 talking points as Neymar hat-trick inspires Selecao to a come-from-behind win| 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

Brazil fought back from 2-1 down to beat Peru 4-2 in Lima in a 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
Brazil fought back from 2-1 down to beat Peru 4-2 in Lima in a 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
Sachin Bhat
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Neymar struck thrice to guide Brazil to a hard-fought 4-2 win over Peru in Lima in the second round of the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in South America.

The PSG star dispatched two penalties before pouncing on a late defensive lapse by the hosts to round off his hat-trick to seal all three points for the Selecao.

Chances were at a premium for both sides as the match degenerated into an ugly contest of rash challenges and erroneous officiating towards the tail end, with the Blanquirroja even getting reduced to ten men.

On that note, let's delve into the five major talking points from the match:

#1 Hat-trick hero Neymar saved the day for Brazil

PSG star Neymar notched his fourth hat-trick for Brazil and is now their second-highest scorer.
PSG star Neymar notched his fourth hat-trick for Brazil and is now their second-highest scorer.

After taking on the creative mantle of his side against Bolivia in the opening round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Neymar was back in familiar terrain against Peru and returned to the scoresheet with a hat-trick.

It wasn't the best he's ever scored but was enough to maintain Brazil's 100% start to their qualifying campaign. In the process, Neymar moved ahead of Ronaldo Nazario in the all-time scoring charts for the five-time World Cup winners.

The treble now brings the 28-year-old Neymar's international tally up to 64 goals, just seven short of Pele, the all-time top-scorer for Brazil.

After netting twice from the spot, the PSG ace exhibited pure predatory instincts for his third goal of the night by racing inside the area and slamming home a loose ball to catch Peru napping.


#2 Peru collapsed in the final quarter

Peru lost the plot against Brazil in the final few minutes.
Peru lost the plot against Brazil in the final few minutes.

The Peruvians might not have a stellar squad but have proved capable of causing upsets in the past. They were quite close to eking out another against Brazil in Lima, but a spectacular collapse in the final 15 minutes completely knocked the wind out of their sails.

For starters, Luis Abram conceded the second penalty by throwing Everton to the ground in a desperate challenge. That allowed Neymar to put Brazil ahead before Carlos Zambrano reduced Peru to a numerical disadvantage for the final few minutes by getting sent off for an elbow on Richarlison.

As if that wasn't enough, the Blanquirroja then contrived to make an absolute mockery of themselves at the back once again when Everton's chip went unchallenged from both Miguel Araujo and Pedro Aquino, allowing Neymar to tap the loose ball into an open goal.

#3 Brazil's defensive frailties came to the fore

There were times when Brazil lacked defensive composure against Peru.
There were times when Brazil lacked defensive composure against Peru.

After putting five unanswered goals past Bolivia, arguably the weakest side in South America, last week, the Selecao were up against a better side in Peru. Brazil conceded twice that almost led to a stalemate in Lima before the hosts suffered an epic meltdown.

Although neither of Bolivia's goals were well-worked per se - the first was down to a moment of individual brilliance from Andre Carrillo whereas the second came via a Marquinhos deflection - as the visitors looked uncharacteristically unsettled at the back.

Jefferson Farfan's clever movements troubled Marquinhos all night as the latter's poor clearance led to the opening goal of the game. Andre Carrillo and Christofer Gonzales also managed to stretch the Brazil defence with their marauding runs.

Against another side, Brazil would've conceded more as their defenders lacked the pace to contain opposition players on the break, something that could come back to hurt the 5-time world champions against teams like Uruguay and Colombia.


#4 Long VAR checks delayed the game

This was another reminder of the poor refereeing standards in South America.
This was another reminder of the poor refereeing standards in South America.

South American games are notorious for abysmally-low officiating standards, and the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee has thrown up a new problem - painstakingly long review processes.

The match official consulted the pitchside monitor as well as those in the operation room a couple of times in the second half but took an unusually long time to make a decision on almost every occasion.

That not only led to plenty of disruption in the match but also unleashed chaos on the field as players swarmed around the referee and hounded him, and those on the bench signalled at their watches.

For the Richarlison goal, the referee appeared to take a good five minutes to conclude that it was a legitimate goal while he took another three minutes or so for Brazil's second penalty, all of which was really frustrating to watch.

The match referees in the CONMEBOL zone really need some practice with the VAR as this wasn't the first time we witnessed something like this. And the sooner they do it, the better the games will be.


#5 Andre Carrillo delivered another spectacular goal

Andre Carrillo scored again for Peru.
Andre Carrillo scored again for Peru.

In the first round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Andre Carrillo helped Peru rescue a point against Paraguay by scoring a brace, one of which was a stunning volley. The player was at it again against Brazil as he found the back of the net with another spectacular effort.

After Yoshimar Yotun's through-ball near the Brazil box came off Marquinhos, the Al Hilal FC striker latched on to the loose ball with an emphatic first-touch to volley home the opener for the Blanquirroja.

It may not have proved decisive eventually, but the 29-year-old displayed his deadly finishing skills as he took his tally of goals during the ongoing qualifiers to three, the same as that of Luis Suarez and Neymar.

It's still early days in the World Cup qualifiers in South America, but based on what we have seen so far, Carrillo could prove to be instrumental to Peru's fortunes if he's able to maintain his hot form going forward.

Edited by Bhargav
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