Football

Published on October 20th, 2017 | by BrazilStats

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Brazilians lead the way in wondrous week of Champions League action

A Brazilian seemed to be on the field and ruling the roost at every major Champions League game this week to leave Tite spoilt for choice

Brazilian players are enjoying a fine time in Europe and the latest Champions League ties were no exception. This remarkable form for current national team members and potentials will leave Brazil manager Tite delighted with his expanding talent pool for the World Cup.

Liverpool’s Brasileiros were on fire. Roberto Firmino grabbed two goals and an assist. Philippe Coutinho managed one strike and two assists to move the Reds to the Group E summit. Luiz Adriano scored in the other group game between Spartak Moscow and Sevilla, helping the Russians crush the Spanish side 5-1.

In Holland, Bernard inspired Shakhtar Donetsk to a precious away victory with a brace against Feyenoord, with the help of a brilliant first goal assist from countryman Fred. Bernard, once regarded as one of the rising talents in Brazil, had also impressed against Manchester City. The 25-year-old could be set for a revival.

The tie that stole the spotlight was at Manchester City’s ground. Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri left Brazil fans with a feeling of disappointment after benching Jorginho who is on Tite’s radar, as well as midfield engine Allan.

City completely dominated the first half, as Gabriel Jesus racked up his fifth goal in three games, while Ederson denied Dries Mertens a penalty, meaning that the goalkeeper has now saved three from four spot-kicks in European competition.

Meanwhile, Fernandinho’s superb diagonal ball to Sané led to the opening goal. In the second half, the Italians battled back with Allan’s inclusion giving the team another dimension. Ederson’s ball-playing abilities stood out in helping City’s back-line escape the pressure, but a Fernandinho foul on Faouzi Ghoulam, meant that the Serie A side would half the deficit from the spot.

Real Madrid’s Casemiro had a solid display against Tottenham and Marcelo seems to be regaining rhythm after his comeback from injury. Alex Sandro’s own goal meant that Juventus would find themselves trailing in Turin, but Pjanic’s equalizer and Douglas Costa’s late assist to Mandzukic, after coming on as a sub, guaranteed Juve the much-needed three points. Costa’s assist comes right after his goal against Lazio in Serie A, as the Brazilians adapts to Massimiliano Allegri’s system.

In London, Roma gave U20 international Gérson a surprise start against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Despite his discrete display and David Luiz’s cracker in his impressive performance as a defensive midfielder, Roma still pulled off a 3-3 draw in one of the most entertaining matches.

At the Camp Nou, Paulinho took advantage of his surprise start against Olympiacos. The Brazil international played the whole game and completed 111 passes out of 114 attempts, a startling stat for a box-to-box midfielder.

Last but not least, and on to Belgium where Neymar’s PSG side reconfirmed themselves as one of the main powers in European football, by crushing Anderlecht 4-0. Neymar completed nine dribbles, created numerous goal-scoring chances, and stole the spotlight by replicating Ronaldinho’s signature free-kick golaço.

His partnership with Kylian Mbappé seems to be getting better by the day, and could turn out to be something special. Team captain Thiago Silva missed the game, recovering from a muscular injury suffered with Brazil, while Marquinhos had a solid defensive display. A quiet Dani Alves returned to his right-back position after operating as a central midfielder at the weekend. The 34-year-old probably needs a rest at this stage.

Tite is set to announce Brazil’s latest squad, and has a wide range of candidates to fill his 23-man roster for the friendlies against Japan and England in November.

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