“Brazil left it late to win in Caracas and it was only possible when Tite decided to attack. Sadly, Tite still does not realize that with the players he has, a pragmatic approach would fetch him nothing.”

 

Venezuela were on course for a famous win against their illustrious South American neighbours – Brazil until the Canarinho struck late and escaped a face-saving victory at Caracas. Brazil might have won by a margin of 3-1 but the performance of the Selecao had been far from impressive.

Venezuela had managed just four points before the encounter last night. Having never beaten Brazil in an official match, the intention of Venezuela was to keep it tight and catch the opponent on the counter, as it was in their match last November; a contest the Selecao won 1-0 thanks to a late Roberto Firmino goal.

Venezuela started with Graterol between the posts, behind a back four of Hernandez, Mejias, Ferraresi and Gonzelez. Martinez and Soteldo sat in the midfield on either side of captain Rincon, while an attacking trident of Penaranda, Ramirez and Machis looked to supply the side with goals.

Tite kept faith in 4-4-2 formation with Alisson in between the sticks and the dynamic pair of Thiago Silva and Marquinhos returned at the centre-back position. Olympic star Arana was introduced to the left-back position while, as usual, Danilo occupied the right-back position.

Fabinho and Gerson took the centre-midfield positions while Lucas Paqueta was deployed as a number 10 – switching from left to centre while Everton Ribeiro occupied the wide right region.

Gabriel Jesus and Gabigol were two attackers.

Neymar was unavailable due to suspension.

Venezuela shocked the visitors with a deserving lead.

Within five minutes of the match, a pass from the right cut through the Brazil defence for Soteldo, who was unable to get the ball out from under his feet to have a strike at goal until a shaky Danilo cleared it – it was an early warning sign for Tite.

Gabigol found space to turn 20 yards from goal and drags a left-footed shot across the goalkeeper – missing the inside of the far post as it goes narrowly wide

A clever move ends in a fantastic finish as Soteldo came across to the right in order to pick up the ball, before chipping an inviting cross towards the penalty spot. Ramirez is stationed perfectly to nod a deft header into the back of the net – leaving Alisson sprawling.

Yet again, Tite’s right flank was fragile and time and again the opposition has exploited that region, still, Tite seems to be out of ideas to protect that area. He has been using Ribeiro and Danilo for a while, but the results remain frustrating whereas he has better options to enrich the right flank.

Eight minutes later, Danilo’s low cross was fizzed into the penalty area for Paqueta, who was unable to get a clean strike on the ball. The ensuing scramble in the penalty area got the way of the Manchester Jesus, who was able to get a clear sight at goal – missing the target by inches! His blushes were saved, however, as the linesman’s flag was raised after a slight delay as he was unable to keep onside.

Twelve minutes later, Paqueta played Ribeiro clear-through on goal, who took a touch to set himself before having a left-footed strike at goal. Ferraresi managed to get a touch to the shot – which sent it over the goalkeeper and off the crossbar before it was turned behind for a corner – a chance missed, because these days, Ribeiro does not have the clinical touch to score such goals.

Meanwhile, Danilo looked to cut inside and play a cross to the far post but a fantastic tackle from Gonzalez put the ball out of play for a throw-in, allowing his side to reorganize.

Again, Ribeiro’s delivery towards the six-yard box was met by a punch from Graterol – who did well to clear his lines confidently.

Ribeiro executed a backheel flick in order to control Gabigol’s leading pass inside the penalty area, but two Venezuelan defenders converge and squeeze out the winger – shielding the ball out of play for a goal-kick.

The Brazilian midfield failed to overcome the resistance put up by Venezuela holding midfielders while their right and left backs consistently pressed the wingers and full-backs to cut short any sort of threats.

Brazil simply lacked pace and creativity in an ordinary first half display whereas, against a struggling side, the Selecao were expected to dominate from the start.

Tite was relying heavily on his chosen ones and a system that never triggers the intention to attack, rather pragmatism dominates more.

After the break, Tite was forced to fix the right flank and introduce the dynamic Raphinha, who made an immediate impact.

Raphinha’s delivery from a set-piece on the left found the head of Thiago Silva – who powered it home with a powerful header but the linesman’s flag was raised immediately for offside which VAR confirmed.

With Raphinha injecting versatility on the right and creating all sorts of problems for Venezuela, Danilo was still proving to be the weak link – Soteldo shifted down the left flank, fooling Danilo in the process as he opened up space for a pass inside to Machis. The winger took a speculative shot from a long way out but lacked enough sharpness.

Paqueta was substituted for the in-form Vinicius Junior whose presence could be felt soon. He started dominating the left flank with his pace and dribbling and which reminded everyone why was not Vinicius started by Tite?

The left and right flank started to click and it was time for Fabinho to take the responsibility to step up and mobilize the midfield while Gerson was complimenting him.

The mobility at the midfield and right flank led to a corner – Raphinha’s outswinging corner found the head of the Marquinhos, who rose high to force the ball between the goalkeeper’s gloves and the post!

The goal came with just 19 minutes remaining of the match.

Tite brought on Antony for more dynamism in place of a frustrating Jesus while Emerson Royal came in for the dismal Danilo.

The Yellow Machine started functioning rightly.

Vinicius’ shot was pushed back into danger by Graterol, who gifted possession to Gabigol inside the six-yard box. Gonzalez’s desperate lunge in order to dispossess the striker was mistimed, as he caught the forward and brought him down – penalty to Brazil and Gabigol scored from the spot-kick.

Raphinha was decisive yet again, bursting into the penalty area and squaring a lovely pass to Antony – whose finish at the second time of asking is his first goal for Brazil in his first appearance.

Brazil left it late to win in Caracas and it was only possible when Tite decided to attack.

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Sadly, Tite still does not realize that with the players he has, a pragmatic approach would fetch him nothing.

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