Richarlison scores twice as Brazil ease past Ghana
LE HAVRE, France, Sept 24, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Richarlison struck twice as Brazil showcased their World Cup credentials by putting on an attacking masterclass in a 3-0 victory over Ghana in Friday's friendly in Le Havre.
Marquinhos headed Brazil in front from a corner and Richarlison doubled the lead before the half-hour. The Tottenham Hotspur striker nodded in a third on 40 minutes.
Unbeaten throughout World Cup qualifying, Brazil's only competitive loss since going out to Belgium in the 2018 quarter-finals in Russia came against Argentina in last year's Copa America final.
Brazil coach Tite fielded a strong, attack-minded side that could well start their opening game of the World Cup against Serbia in Lusail on November 24.
Ghana lost Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey to injury in the warm-up, on what was a challenging night for the Black Stars.
Five-time world champions Brazil hit their stride right away, Neymar unhindered by the small cut during Wednesday's training session that required minor treatment.
In red-hot form to start the season with Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar quickly began to threaten down the left in tandem with Vinicius Junior.
Richarlison blazed over from Lucas Paqueta's cutback, the new West Ham signing also fizzing a shot just past the post.
Brazil were soon in front though as Marquinhos powered in from Raphinha's inswinging corner in the ninth minute.
Raphinha should have scored himself when Vinicius' audacious cross with the outside of his right boot picked the Barcelona man out at the far post.
- Neymar runs the show -
Neymar created Brazil's second goal with a simple but brilliant assist.
He allowed Thiago Silva's pass to run beyond him before rolling it towards Richarlison, who swept a first-time shot low into the corner of Joseph Wollacott's goal.
The PSG star was again the provider as Brazil increased their advantage, whipping in a free-kick that Richarlison glanced home at the near post.
Ghana barely avoided conceding a fourth before the break when Neymar teed up Paqueta, whose effort was saved by Wollacott before Raphinha's follow-up was blocked.
Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams, who won one cap for Spain in 2016, and Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu came on for their Ghana debuts at half-time.
Bremer, who joined Juventus from Torino in July, made his first Brazil appearance, replacing Silva at centre-back.
Andre Ayew's header clipped the bar on the hour as Ghana finally tested Brazil, whose rhythm dipped as Tite turned to his bench with the introduction of Antony and Matheus Cunha.
Former England Under-21 international Tariq Lamptey, another of Ghana's new recruits, got his first minutes for the four-time African champions as Otto Addo emptied his bench.
Neymar nearly capped off another sparkling performance with a goal of his own, but shot weakly at Wollacott after a mesmerising run. He remains three shy of Pele's national team record of 77 goals.
Atletico Madrid's Cunha was denied a first Brazil goal in the closing minutes by a desperation goalline block after Wollacott parried Rodrygo's attempt.
Brazil take on Tunisia in their final pre-World Cup tune-up at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Tuesday, while Ghana head to Spain to face Nicaragua.
Elsewhere, Cyle Larin and Jonathan David were on target as Canada beat World Cup hosts Qatar 2-0 in Vienna.
Mehdi Taremi got the only goal as Iran beat Uruguay 1-0 while Saudi Arabia drew 0-0 with Ecuador.
Sofiane Boufal's penalty and a debut goal from Abdelhamid Sabiri gave new Morocco coach Walid Regragui a 2-0 win over Chile.