RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil beat Peru 1-0 in a Copa America semifinal on Monday and will attempt to successfully defend its title on Saturday at the Maracana Stadium.
Argentina and Colombia will play for the other place in the decider on Tuesday.
Neymar made the difference on the bumpy pitch of the Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The only goal of the match came in the 34th minute after he tricked defender Alexander Callens on the left edge of the box and assisted Lucas Paquetá, who just pushed the ball to the back of the net.
Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was one of the best of the match despite his team’s elimination. He made two difficult saves from short range in the 18th minute, one by Neymar and the other by Richarlison, which could have allowed Brazil to cruise into victory sooner.
Brazil gave the impression it could score when it wanted against Peru, a team the Selecao had thrashed 4-0 in the group stage of the tournament. But the second half was very different, with Gianluca Lapadula forcing goalkeeper Ederson to make a key save in the 49th minute in a crossed shot. Brazil still had opportunities, but continued to waste counter-attacks.
Brazil seeks its 10th title in the South American championship. Two years ago the Selecao won the title without injured Neymar in a 3-1 win against Peru. Next Saturday’s final, which will be played in front of no fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, promises to be more challenging.