Jesus at the double as Brazil seals unconvincing win over Czech Republic

Brazil struggled for long periods against the Czech Republic but the introductions of David Neres and Gabriel Jesus proved key to its win.

Gabriel Jesus scored twice Brazil against the Czech Republic.   -  Getty Images

Substitute Gabriel Jesus scored a late double as Brazil came from behind to beat the Czech Republic 3-1 despite an underwhelming performance from the Selecao in Prague on Tuesday.

Tite's team faced strong criticism after being held to a 1-1 draw by Panama in Porto on Saturday and it struggled against a Czech Republic side that went down 5-0 to England in Euro 2020 qualifers on Friday.

David Pavelka put the host ahead with his first international goal before half-time, but Roberto Firmino pounced on a mix-up between Theodor Gebre Selassie and Marek Suchy to equalise early in the second half. Jesus replaced Philippe Coutinho in the 72nd minute and struck twice to help ease the pressure that seemed to be mounting on Tite ahead of a Copa America on home soil.

Czech Republic looked more dangerous and its positivity was rewarded in the 37th minute when Schick helped Lukas Masopust's pass beyond Marquinhos and Pavelka drilled a pinpoint finish into the bottom-left corner.

Brazil equalised four minutes after the restart when Gebre Selassie and Suchy contrived to present Firmino with a golden opportunity he did not pass up.

Czech Republic lost Darida and Ondrej Celustka to injury - and Jiri Pavlenka did superbly to keep out Coutinho and debutant David Neres, who replaced Richarlison in the 63rd minute.

Neres' direct running and pace caused the hosts problems and he latched onto a throughball from Danilo to tee up Jesus, who converted despite sending a bobbling pass uncomfortably close to the crossbar in the 83rd minute.

Manchester City striker Jesus finished off another clinical move seven minutes later to wrap up a seventh win in eight matches for Brazil.

 

What does it mean? Tite's aim for continuity unrewarded

Tite made six changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Panama but kept the front four intact to try to provide prospective Selecao first-team regulars Lucas Paqueta and Richarlison with some familiarity.

RELATED | Tite refusing to panic after woeful Panama draw

However, a dismal opening period led to the Brazil boss hooking Paqueta ahead of the second half and it was Jesus and Neres that eventually did the damage for the visitor. It remains a big worry for Brazil that it lacks a convincing formula up front without the talismanic Neymar.

Neres introduction proves decisive

While Jesus may have got the goals, it was Ajax winger Neres who deserves the plaudits for a late flourish from Brazil.

Unperturbed by being denied a debut goal in the 77th minute, he set up Jesus' first and produced an exquisite backheel that Allan used to feed the former Palmeiras man for his second.

What's next?

Brazil is yet to define its warm-up matches ahead of the Copa America on home soil, which it begins with a match against Bolivia on June 14. The Czech Republic faces Bulgaria in a Euro 2020 qualifier in the same month.