Neymar netted a controversial penalty to secure Brazil a hard-fought win against Uruguay in a friendly that was anything but on a dank night in London.
Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium played host to the 76th meeting of these South American adversaries as they continued their build-up to next summer’s Copa America.
Brazil are favourites to lift the trophy on home turf and Tite’s men continued their impressive preparations with a narrow 1-0 victory through Neymar’s late penalty.
This was a friendly in name only as referee Craig Pawson handed out eight bookings on a night when Uruguay’s players were furious with the decision to give the Selecao a spot-kick after Diego Laxalt was adjudged to have fouled Manchester City’s Danilo.
It looked harsh and added to a feisty occasion in which Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker had to be alert between the sticks for Brazil.
It was an aggressive clash between two sides missing some key names, with Philippe Coutinho, Marcelo and Casemiro among those absent against a Uruguay side without defenders Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.
The atmosphere was certainly warmer than the murky north London weather, with noise rising whenever Neymar got near the ball in the opening exchanges.
The Paris St Germain star fed off the attention and forced Uruguay goalkeeper Martin Campana into a low save from an early fizzing free-kick that he had earned.
Neymar looked to have given those fans what they wanted just 11 minutes into the friendly. Patient build-up ended with Filipe Luis sending in a low cross begging to be turned home, only for the flag for offside to be rightly raised.
The 26-year-old flashed over from 35 yards as the yellow onslaught continued, but Uruguay began to settle as the fans turned to Mexican waves.
La Celeste saw their hopes of making an imprint fall short at the last, with Luis Suarez’s fizzing effort from the edge of the box tipped over impressively by Alisson.
Walace had two attempts in quick succession when Brazil belatedly flickered into life again as half-time approached, although the tempo had by now slowed, thanks to an increase in fouls.
Uruguay smelled blood, though, and Edinson Cavani met a lovely, clipped diagonal pass with a volley that Alisson patted away.
The Liverpool goalkeeper again had to be alert to stop a 20-yard free-kick from Suarez finding the bottom corner five minutes into a second half that saw Napoli midfielder Allan come on for his Brazil debut.
Campana spilled a driven Neymar shot when Brazil took control, but Uruguay remained a threat on the counter and, if it was not for Miranda in the 73rd minute, then Cavani’s tantalising cross would have been turned in.
Moments later and Tite’s men got the game-changing decision, with Pawson awarding a spot-kick after Danilo went down following a Laxalt challenge.
Uruguay’s players were incandescent, surrounding the official and Neymar eventually rolled home the penalty.
Brazil dug deep and continued to frustrate their opponents as the match wound down, with substitute Richarlison agonisingly close to a superb second when meeting Neymar’s superb cross on the volley.
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