Brazil took on some familiar faces at Sun Life Stadium in Miami as they defeated Colombia 1-0 in a fiery South American matchup.
A rematch of the World Cup quarterfinals, which Brazil won 2-1, featured some of the bad blood that was seen a few months ago. Seven players were booked in the match as referee David Gantar looked to put down any possible retaliation from their previous meeting, where Colombia’s Juan Zuniga broke a vertebra in Neymar’s back, forcing the star to miss their semifinal matchup against Germany. We all know how that ended up.
Zuniga and Neymar hugged before the match, clearing the air and putting down the notion of any possible retribution from his Brazilian teammates. However, the game was physical from the opening whistle, with many harsh tackles coming from both sides. Colombia was forced to play with ten men after Juan Cuadrado was sent off following a second yellow card in the 49th minute.
After being named captain by new head coach Dunga, Neymar lived up to his title when he curled a free kick into the top corner late in the game. The 83rd minute goal was enough to secure the win for Brazil in their first match since their World Cup collapse.
The match attendance of over 73,000 people set the record for highest attendance at a soccer game in Florida history. The Colombian-dominant crowd didn’t get to see a win, but one bright spot was the return of Radamel Falcao. Manchester United’s new signing came off the bench in his return from knee surgery, much to the delight of the fans. Falcao played thirteen minutes after replacing Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, and looked sharp following an eight-month recovery from a torn ACL.