Brazil players celebrate winning the Copa America. (Reuters)
RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s Gabriel Jesus made one goal, scored another and was sent off in the second half as they beat Peru 3-1 on Sunday to win the Copa America for the ninth time in a pulsating contest at the Maracana stadium.
The hosts took the lead after 15 minutes thanks to some brilliant skill from Jesus on the wing. The Manchester City forward bamboozled two defenders and crossed for the unmarked Everton to fire home from close range.
Peru had not won this tournament since 1975 and they bounced back quickly with an equaliser a minute before halftime when Paolo Guerrero scored from the penalty spot after Thiago Silva was adjudged to have handled the ball.
The goal was the first Brazil had conceded in six games since the Copa America began but it did not shake their confidence and they retook the lead moments later after a well worked move from midfield.
Roberto Firmino showed some nice skill on the right touchline and he fed Arthur who strode forward and fed Jesus, who coolly slotted the ball past a helpless Pedro Gallese.
Peru pushed forward in the second half and were thrown a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when Jesus was sent off.
He had been felled by Carlos Zambrano a few minutes earlier and when Jesus dealt out his revenge he was immediately shown a second yellow to follow a first half caution for a bad tackle.
But Brazil, playing in front of a 70 000 crowd in Rio de Janeiro, had the final say when substitute Richarlison made it 3-1 with a penalty in the final minute of regulation time.
It was Brazil’s first major title since they won the Copa America in 2007 and the first for coach Tite, who took charge of the national team three years ago. (Reuters)