Neymar returns for Copa America knockout match

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Rio De Janeiro

Defending champion Brazil and Chile will have their star players back in action when they meet in the Copa America quarterfinals on Friday.

Neymar will return for Brazil and Alexis Sánchez has recovered from a calf muscle injury ahead of the encounter at the Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The Seleçao spared a group of regular starters in the 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Sunday, resting Neymar, defender Thiago Silva and striker Gabriel Jesus.

Others, including Casemiro, entered as substitutes in that game. Brazil, with three wins in four Copa America matches, is the clear favorite to win.

Chile’s only win in the group stage was against Bolivia and it is lacking the kind of form that inspired its back-to-back championship wins in 2015 and ’16. The last memorable match between Brazil and Chile was in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup.

Regular time ended 1-1, with goals by David Luiz and Sánchez. The Chileans almost beat the hosts in extra time, with a strike by Mauricio Pinilla hitting the bar in the last minute.

But Brazil won on penalties, 3-2 — Pinilla also missed his from the spot. Thiago Silva, who could start on Friday, was marked by that match for his tears of tension during the shootout.—AP

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