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 Brazil Force Super Eagles To 1-1 In Singapore

Brazil lost Neymar to an early injury scare and stuttered to a 1-1 draw with Nigeria as their post-Copa America malaise continued in Singapore.

Having last month restored him to the starting XI, Paris Saint Germain will have been especially concerned when Neymar clutched at his hamstring as he headed to the bench in the 12th minute of Sunday’s international friendly.

Joe Aribo fired Nigeria into the lead not long later before Casemiro scrambled Brazil level within three minutes of the interval.

The Real Madrid midfielder went closest to winning it, seeing a header cannon against the crossbar on the hour, but the Selecao were unable to end what is now a four-game winless streak.

Roberto Firmino threatened with a well-struck shot on the turn before Ederson denied Victor Osimhen in an entertaining first five minutes.

Tite was forced to call on Philippe Coutinho when Neymar made way and Brazil’s woes were compounded in the 35th minute.

Moses Simon controlled Osimhen’s cross and spotted the late-arriving Aribo, who doubled his international account after dancing through Marquinhos’ weak challenge.

The defender went some way to making amends when his header from a Dani Alves cross came back off the woodwork and dropped for Casemiro to sweep home.

Casemiro almost single-handedly completed the comeback from Coutinho’s corner before substitute Richarlison turned a chance the wrong side of the upright.

Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho had to be taken off on a stretcher after landing awkwardly while attempting to thwart the Casemiro chance.

But his absence failed to hinder the Super Eagles, who held on for a creditable draw after Semi Ajayi blocked a meek Coutinho finish at close range in the closing stages.

Brazil’s inability to build on their Copa America success has been startling.

Securing continental silverware on home soil was expected to prove the catalyst for Tite’s team to grow but they have recorded no more than three draws and a defeat since edging Peru in July.

William Troost-Ekong looked a defender of international class at the World Cup in Russia and acquitted himself well against Brazil’s strike force, tallying six clearances and several moments of impressively calm defensive work.

Meaningless friendly or not, the lack of desperation Marquinhos displayed in defending Aribo’s opening goal cannot be tolerated by a team fighting for form.

Brazil are to face rivals Argentina in a Superclasico de las Americas clash in Saudi Arabia on November 15, while Nigeria commence Africa Cup of Nations qualifying next month.  

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