Neymar doubles up from the spot in big Brazil win

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Neymar scored two calmly taken penalties to move to within four goals of Pele at the top of the country’s all-time scoring list as fired a World Cup warning with a 5-1 thrashing of fellow qualifiers South Korea at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Neymar’s status for the match had been up in the air after he suffered a right foot injury during training on Wednesday but he was the star of the show, net-ting either side of halftime to move onto 73 goals in 118 appearances for his country and close in on the three-time World Cup winner’s record in a comfort-able win for Tite’s side.

Richarlison gave Brazil the lead in the seventh minute and, although Hwang Ui-jo levelled for Korea just after the half-hour mark, it was the visitors who always looked more likely to prevail.

Neymar netted from the spot to put his side back in front three minutes before halftime and he was on hand with another penalty in the 57th minute before late goals from Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus put the seal on a comprehensive win.

Brazil will next play Japan in Tokyo on Monday, while South Korea host Chile on the same day.

World Cup-bound Japan said they were primed to test themselves against the mighty Brazil after a comprehensive 4-1 win over Paraguay in Sapporo on Thursday.

Striker Takuma Asano opened the scoring against Paraguay with a clinical finish in the 36th minute and Daichi Kamada doubled his side’s ad-vantage six minutes later to hand Hajime Moriyasu’s team a two-goal cushion.—AFP