Brazil 2 Qatar 0: Neymar injury overshadows win

Neymar was forced from the ground in tears as Brazil defeated Qatar in a pre-Copa America friendly on Wednesday.

Neymar down injured during Brazil's friendly against Qatar.   -  Getty Images

Brazil stepped up its preparations for the Copa America with a 2-0 win over Qatar, but Neymar suffered a potentially serious injury.

First-half goals from Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus guided Brazil past Asian Cup champion Qatar in Wednesday's international friendly. But, Brazil was left sweating on Neymar's fitness after the Paris Saint-Germain star was carried away in tears with an apparent lower leg injury in the 21st minute. He was later ruled out of the Copa America.

Qatar had a chance to pull a goal back in the 96th minute after the referee penalised Ederson for a mistimed challenge following a VAR review. However, Boualem Khoukhi's spot-kick cannoned against the crossbar.

It was a lively first half in Brasilia, where two goals were scored, a penalty was overturned by the VAR and Neymar left the pitch in tears.

Qatar had won seven successive matches heading into the friendly but the Copa America guests were completely outplayed as Brazil hit the front in the 16th minute. Dani Alves picked out Richarlison, who rose highest to head past Saad Al Sheeb for his fourth international goal.

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Neymar, who was seen crying on the sidelines, was forced from the ground shortly afterwards and replaced by Everton. That did not hamper Brazil, which doubled its lead eight minutes later through Jesus following some neat combination play with Richarlison.

Philippe Coutinho thought he had the chance to make it 3-0 after a handball inside the box six minutes before half-time. However, the referee overturned his original decision following a VAR review. The second half saw the introduction of AC Milan star Lucas Paqueta and Ajax sensation David Neres and while the changes hampered the flow of the match, the result was never in doubt even after Qatar's stoppage-time penalty.

What does it mean? Brazil building towards Copa tilt

The Neymar injury was unwelcome news but Brazil still showed glimpses of its quality in a fairly routine outing against the 2022 World Cup host.

Alves was impressive down the flanks, while Brazil's forwards proved a handful as the South American giant extended its undefeated streak to nine games since the World Cup quarterfinals.

Jesus and Richarlison combine well

The two Premier League stars showed they can play together, especially in the first half. Richarlison played in Jesus with a well-weighted pass to put Brazil 2-0 ahead. With uncertainty over Neymar, the duo could have an even greater role to play during the Copa America.

What's next?

Brazil will finalise its Copa America preparations at home to Honduras on Sunday before opening the tournament against Bolivia on June 14. Qatar, meanwhile, will not play again until it faces Paraguay (June 16) in Copa America action.