Brazil count cost after Neymar’s off-night

Colombia's Carlos Bacca, second left, pushes Brazil striker Neymar at the end of the Copa America clash in Santiago. Bacca and Neymar were both sent off Picture: AP

Colombia's Carlos Bacca, second left, pushes Brazil striker Neymar at the end of the Copa America clash in Santiago. Bacca and Neymar were both sent off Picture: AP

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Neymar could be banned for more than one game because of the red card he received after Brazil’s 1-0 defeat by Colombia in the Copa America.

Neymar will miss the final group match against Venezuela on Sunday and is in danger of receiving a longer suspension that could keep him from playing in the quarter-finals, and even beyond, if Brazil progress.

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said Neymar’s case will be analysed today.

After the final whistle of Wednesday’s match in Santiago, a frustrated Neymar kicked the ball towards a Colombian defender and then tried to head-butt another player who confronted him. Colombia’s Carlos Bacca shoved Neymar from behind and was also sent off.

Neymar had already been shown a yellow card that would have kept him from playing against Venezuela.

Brazil could have secured a spot in the quarter-finals with a win but after Jeison Murillo’s 36th-minute strike secured victory for Colombia, both teams will face a nervy finale on Sunday as they seek to ensure progress into the last eight. 
Colombia take on Peru in their last group game.

“Colombia showed that they are a very experienced team,” said Brazil coach Dunga. “Our players at times got caught in their provocations and forgot to play football.

“Brazil have to play football. Brazil can’t go to war, we have to focus on what we do best, which is play football.”

The result ended Colombia’s 24-year winless drought against the five-time world champions and left Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela tied at the top of Group C with three points each. Venezuela and Peru were due to play their second group match late last night.

A defeat on Wednesday would have left Colombia pointless and in a difficult position to advance. “We showed that we are a team that has matured, that can play these types of matches,” said Colombia coach Jose Pekerman. “We couldn’t slip up today. We needed an almost-perfect match in all areas.”

With Neymar struggling, Brazil toiled to carve out genuine opportunities and it was Colombia – led by James Rodriguez and Falcao Garcia – who created the most dangerous chances.

Murillo netted the winner when he pounced on a loose ball following a free kick into the Brazil area and fired a low shot through the legs of defender Thiago Silva.

Neymar had a chance to equalise with a close-range header in the 44th minute, but 
Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina made a good save. Off the rebound, the ball hit Neymar’s hand, prompting the referee to show him a yellow card. Neymar complained, saying the touch was accidental.

“The referees have to respect Neymar because he is always getting hit,” Brazil midfielder Willian said. “It happened 
again today, and he was the one ejected.”

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