Coutinho stars as Brazil outclass South Korea in Abu Dhabi friendly

Abu Dhabi (AFP) –


Brazil ended a run of five games without a win by easing to a 3-0 victory over South Korea in a friendly in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with Philippe Coutinho scoring the pick of the goals.

Coutinho, currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, curled a free-kick from 22 yards high into the net to put Brazil 2-0 up after 35 minutes.

Before that he had played a part in the opener, producing some delightful footwork to pick out Renan Lodi, whose cross from the left was headed in from close range by AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta.

Atletico Madrid left-back Lodi, 21, also set up the third goal which arrived shortly after half-time, his low delivery picking out Danilo to score with a first-time drive from just outside the area.

It is a first victory in six friendly outings for the Selecao since their triumph at the Copa America on home soil in July.

All of those matches have been played on neutral ground, with this match coming after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina in Saudi Arabia last Friday.

Five days after a 0-0 draw in Lebanon in a 2022 World Cup qualifier, South Korea were outclassed here, despite the presence of Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min in their line-up.

Once again Neymar was absent for Brazil, with the world's most expensive player having stayed behind at Paris Saint-Germain to work on his fitness after suffering an injury playing for his country in a 1-1 draw with Nigeria in Singapore a month ago.

Perhaps his absence helped explain why the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium was barely half full for the game.

Coach Tite made five changes to his starting line-up following the Argentina defeat, with Lodi and Coutinho coming into the side along with PSG centre-back Marquinhos, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho and Everton forward Richarlison.

Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz was handed his debut as a late substitute in what is a reassuring victory for Brazil before they start South American World Cup qualifying next March.