NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Brazil easily defeated New Zealand 3-0 yesterday despite resting some regular starters for the quarterfinals of the men’s Olympic football tournament.
Already in the next round, Brazil earned the comfortable win with goals by Danilo in the 23rd minute, Leandro Damiao in the 29th and Sandro in the 52nd.
The result eliminated New Zealand, who needed to win to have any chance of advancing from Group C.
Brazil won the group with nine points from three matches, while New Zealand exited with one point from a draw with Egypt, who advanced after beating Belarus 3-1 to finish with four points. Belarus ended with three.
Brazil played a man down from the 76th after Alex Sandro received his second yellow card of the match for diving inside the penalty area.
Trying to win their first Olympic gold in football, Brazil will play the quarter-finals against Group D runner-up Honduras.
The Olympic tournament is the only significant football competition Brazil haven’t won. They earned silver in 1984 and 1988, and bronze in 1996 and 2008.
The Brazilians controlled possession from the start and moved the ball around while patiently awaiting for their chances up front.
The first goal came after a giveand-go play between Damiao and Danilo, who received the ball near the penalty spot and easily sent it past New Zealand goalkeeper Michael O’Keeffe.
Damiao added the second from the six-yard line, finding the open net after a low cross by Alex Sandro. Real Madrid left back Marcelo started the play with a backheel pass to Alex Sandro inside the box.
Marcelo also took the leftside free kick that led to Sandro’s goal from near the far post. The ball crossed the area
behind the defenders and
the Tottenham midfielder easily found the net.
Menezes took the opportunity to rest some regular starters and give playing time to some of reserves. He made five changes from the team that beat Belarus 3-1 on Sunday, leaving out Hulk, Alexandre Pato, Oscar, Romulo and goalkeeper Neto. Gabriel, Lucas, Leandro Damiao, Danilo and Alex Sandro got to play.
New Zealand leave the competition after scoring only one goal and unable to win their first match in an Olympic or World Cup tournament. This is the team’s second consecutive time participating in the Olympics. They have also played in two World Cups, in 1982 and 2010.
Brazil beat New Zealand 5-0 in the group stage four years ago in Beijing.