A tearful Neymar inspired hosts Brazil to become the first side to qualify for the Copa America knock-out stages following a 4-0 win over Peru in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Goals from Alex Sandro, Neymar, Everton Ribeiro and Richarlison gave the holders a ninth straight win and a perfect six points from two games in Group B as Peru dropped to the bottom.
“It’s emotional for me because many things happened in these last two years that were difficult, complicated,” said Neymar as the tears flowed.
His 68th goal in 107 games for his country took him to within nine of the record set by Brazil great Pele.
It took Brazil 10 minutes to get a shot on goal, and when they did it came from the unlikely boot of defensive midfielder Fred, who fired over.
Fabinho was next to test his sights but fizzed a drive from 25 yards just wide.
– Brazil run riot –
Brazil thought they had a penalty on the hour mark when Neymar tumbled in the box under pressure from Renato Tapia, but as the Paris Saint-Germain star waited to take the spot kick, Argentine referee Patricio Loustau went over to check the pitchside monitor and reversed his decision.
The hosts started to play with freedom and substitute Richarlison brought a fine save out of Gallese after he was set up by Neymar, who later shot wide.
Neymar and substitute Roberto Firmino had chances to wrap up the win but the third goal finally came a minute from time as Richarlison teed up another substitute in Everton Ribeiro to tap home from six yards out.
– Fractious –
Goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez made a string of fine saves, particularly in the closing stages, to keep out the Colombians, who saw a late Miguel Borja goal ruled out for offside.
Colombia finished the game with 23 shots to just two — including none on target — from Venezuela but the “Red Wine” held out for a much needed point.