U-17: Brazil rides on Brenner brace in practice game

Brazil, playing within limitations in the first half of a practice tie against New Zealand, brought on the Samba magic after half-time when the floodlights came on at the Mumbai Football Arena with the full-time score reading 2-1 to the Brazilians.

Brazil's Brenner scores its first goal against New Zealand.   -  Prashant Nakwe

Brazil, playing within limitations in the first half of a practice tie against New Zealand, brought on the Samba magic after half-time when the floodlights came on at the Mumbai Football Arena. Full-time score read 2-1 to the Brazilians, Brenner bagging both the goals.

Both teams then lined up for a penalty shootout, which were held to allow players get into the stride and the South Americans edged that too, coming out the better side in a 5-4 shootout. Coaches from both sides, Carlos Amadeu and Danny Kay, looked happy at the carpet like surface and valuable opportunity to take in match simulation. Injuries to three players did not induce anxiety in the Brazilian camp.

Amadeu explained: “New Zealand plays a hard-tackling game, so we were ready for this. No major injuries.” Paulino was recovering from ankle strain, so was rested for the game. Brenner came on as Wesley’s replacement in the first half and took charge in attack.

Kerala: Brazil's home away from home

Brazil will feel at home in Kochi, where it will be playing its Group D league games. “In Kochi we know that the most known team there (Kerala Blasters FC) wears yellow too, so it can be good for us to have the crowd on our side,” pointed out coach Carlos Amadeu.

He promised the boys will play the style of football the nation is know for. Amadeu said: “We are going to have them (fans) on our side, with this happiness football, beautiful football everyone expects from Brazil.”

He had a message for the India U-17 side, which will be making its debut in the competition. “Enjoy the competition, play with happiness for the fans, the people. India needs to enjoy, since they are the host,” he signed off.

Brener took off on a celebratory run down the goalline after squeezing in the ball between the post and NZ goalkeeper, with the custodian falling to cover the angle. The defence was pierced after two touches around the box and the ball relayed through for the former to do the rest.

NZ defenders were still covering up gaps when Alan set up Breneer for the second time with a through pass for the latter to control first-time and slot in with second touch. Mata was fouled, earning a penalty kick which the skipper converted with a looping shot high in.

The Kiwis spent the first half chasing the ball, after an initial burst of attacks in the first half. Brazil took time adjusting to humid conditions in a sun-soaked first half, busy on the pitch moving the ball around and flitting into free space for receiving.

Wesley was among three players coming off for treatment after losing balance in a fierce tackle. The gold and green jerseys managed one glimpse of touch and passing, a three-touch move ending with a powerful shot on the turn by Marcos Antonio flying wide.

The first of two practice games at the Mumbai Football Arena was played in front of few fans. MDFA president Aditya Thackeray and ex-India goalkeeper Henry Menezes were introduced to the two teams. Brazil will be playing World Cup matches in Kochi.

Scores: Brazil 2 (Brenner 2) bt New Zealand 1 (Max Mata). Penalty-kicks Brazil 5 bt New Zealand 4.

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