Raphinha steers Brazil to rout of Tunisia in friendly

PARIS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — Barcelona forward Raphinha scored twice as Brazil routed Tunisia 5-1 in their last friendly here on Tuesday before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Richarlison, Neymar and Pedro were also on target as the five-time world champions extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches.

The contest was marred by an incident during the first half in which a banana was thrown at Tottenham Hotspur forward Richarlison, an act that was strongly rebuked by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).

“The CBF reinforces its position to combat racism and repudiates any prejudiced act,” the entity said in a statement on its official website.

It took just 11 minutes for Raphinha to give Brazil the lead in front of a capacity crowd at the Parc des Princes. Manchester United midfielder Casemiro provided a floating 30-yard pass and Raphinha, following the path of the ball with his back to goal, connected with a sweetly timed header that lobbed into the top right corner of the net.

Tunisia equalized when Montassar Talbi rose highest to meet an in-swinging Anis Slimane free-kick with a thumping header past Alisson.

With the tempo at fever pitch, Brazil were again on the scoresheet a minute later through Richarlison. The former Everton player continued his rich vein of form at international level by beating the offside trap following Raphinha’s sumptuous through-ball and nut-megging goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen for Brazil’s second goal.

The Selection No. 9 celebrated in front of a section of Tunisia fans, who responded by throwing plastic cups, rubbish and a banana in his direction.

Neymar extended Brazil’s lead by converting a penalty – his 75th international goal – just before the half-hour mark after Casemiro was pulled down by Aissa Laidouni.

Brazil were relentless and they went further ahead on the stroke of halftime through Raphinha’s long-range effort that rebounded in off the right post.

“That’s the attacker’s instinct, right?,” Raphinha said after the match. “I know I still have a lot to improve, but I noticed that the defender went to the other side which gave me the chance to find space and shoot.”

Both sides emerged from the halftime interval with reduced intensity, seemingly drained by the frantic opening 45 minutes.

Brazil continued to dominate possession, though genuine scoring chances were scarce. The South American team finally added to their tally in the 74th minute when Pedro completed the rout by pouncing on a loose ball and hammering a volley past Dahmen.

The fixture was the last chance for both teams to test themselves in match conditions before the World Cup begins on November 20.

Brazil have been drawn in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon while Tunisia are in Group D with Denmark, Australia and France.

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