Gabigol's brilliance lights up Japan friendly win

SHINING STAR: Barbosa, 19, gave his football-mad home country a 1-0 lead against Japan in the 33rd minute.


    Aug 01, 2016

    Gabigol's brilliance lights up Japan friendly win


    TEENAGE star Gabriel Barbosa scored a superb individual goal as Neymar returned to lead Brazil to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Japan in an Olympic warm-up game here on Saturday.

    The 19-year-old Santos striker, who has been linked to European clubs including Juventus, gave Brazil a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute after a mesmerising slalom through the Japan defence.

    The shot by the forward known to fans as "Gabigol" took a big deflection on its way into the Japanese net but there was no denying the electrifying burst of skill which created the opener.

    Barcelona superstar Neymar - desperate to lead Brazil to victory in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after the agony of the 2014 World Cup - created Brazil's second from a corner, headed in by Marquinhos in the 41st minute.

    Neymar and Gabriel formed a potent attacking trident alongside Gabriel Jesus, the 19-year-old Palmeiras attacker who is reportedly close to signing for English Premier League side Manchester City.

    Brazil are targeting this year's Olympic crown - the only title that the football-mad nation has yet to win.

    The Brazilians were beaten in the final of the 2012 Olympics by Mexico at Wembley.

    The five-time world champions then suffered a traumatic exit at the 2014 World Cup, humiliated 7-1 in the semi-finals by eventual champions Germany.

    Brazil play South Africa, Iraq and Denmark in the first- round Group A at this year's Olympics. Japan are in Group B with Nigeria, Colombia and Sweden.