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Coutinho shines as Brazil hit top gear

Coutinho shines as Brazil hit top gear

Posted by PanamericanWorld on June 09, 2016

After opening their 2016 Copa America Centenario campaign with a goalless draw, Brazil flexed their muscles by putting seven past Haiti on Wednesday. Philippe Coutinho was the star of the show, scoring a hat-trick as the Haitians tumbled out of the competition. 

In the day’s second and final game, Ecuador and Peru shared four goals in a thrilling draw that left Group B wide open. Los Incas surged into a two-goal lead only for La Tri to hit back and claim a crucial point. FIFA.com rounds up the day’s action. 

The day’s results

Brazil 7-1 Haiti

Ecuador 2-2 Peru

The analysis 

Brazil were in command from the very start against Haiti and cruised to an easy win. Dominant in the midfield, the Brazilians looked for Philippe Coutinho every time they regained possession, giving the left-sided Liverpool man the supply he needed to torment the opposition defence. 

Executing coach Dunga’s strategy to perfection, the No22 revelled in the space he was afforded, showcasing his dribbling skills as he ran at the Haitians time and again. It was Coutinho who opened the scoring 14 minutes in, after which A Canarinha never looked back. The Rio de Janeiro-born wide man struck twice more, with Renato Augusto contributing a brace and Gabriel Barbosa and Araujo Lima also getting in on the act. 

Peru and Ecuador then served up a game that had everything: goals, excitement and a compelling comeback. Los Incas made a fast start, shooting into a 2-0 lead in the opening 15 minutes, causing Tri coach Gustavo Quinteros to alter his gameplan. 

Resisting the urge to throw themselves forward, Ecuador gradually neutralised Peru’s attacking threat, wrested control in midfield and began to fashion some chances of their own, one of which was accepted by Enner Valencia before the break, with Miller Bolanos completing the fightback at the start of the second half. 

Highlight of the day

Peru’s Christian Cueva somehow combined a 180-degree turn and a nutmeg as he opened the scoring against Ecuador, a sublime show of skill that involved just two touches and sent the fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium wild. 

Making an incisive run towards the edge of the Tri box, the Inca No10 had three defenders for company as he latched on to a diagonal pass. Taking a first touch with the sole of his left boot and with his back to goal, Cueva let the ball run on – between the legs of a nonplussed Gabriel Achilier – as he spun round, before firing home past the exposed Ecuador keeper. 

The stat

33 - the number of years since Ecuador last came from two goals down in the Copa America, the last occasion being in 1983 against Argentina. 

What they said

“That was an improvement on the Ecuador game. Brazil always have to go out there to win, which is just what we did today. That’s what we train for. Coutinho is making the most of his opportunity. I spoke to him before the game and told him to be the player that plays and scores goals for Liverpool. I think he’s got more confidence and he’s going to become more and more lethal with every training session.” 

Brazil coach Dunga

Next matchday

Thursday 9 June, Group C

Uruguay v Venezuela

Mexico v Jamaica

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