Brazil beats Chile 1-0 in international friendly thanks to substitute Roberto Firmino's goal


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LONDON — Brazil kept up its resurgence since last year's World Cup by beating Chile 1-0 in an ill-tempered friendly on Sunday, with substitute Roberto Firmino's second-half goal clinching an eighth straight victory in Dunga's second spell as coach.

Firmino lit up a physical game at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium with a rare moment of class, running onto Danilo's through-ball and rounding the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into an empty net in the 72nd minute.

It was one of Brazil's few sights on goal in a scrappy performance in the last match of its global tour before the Copa America, which will be played in Chile over June and July.

However, the feel-good factor is back in Brazil's national team following the humiliating end to its home World Cup, when it lost 7-1 to Germany in the semifinals and 3-0 to the Netherlands in the third-place playoff.

And the five-time world champions showed they can dig deep, too, withstanding Chile's aggressive approach that went too far at times. Chile defender Gary Medel was fortunate to escape punishment after English referee Martin Atkinson missed him treading on Brazil star Neymar's right calf.

"They weren't protected very much," Dunga said of his players.

Dunga, who first coached Brazil from 2006-10, has started his second stint in charge with a run of victories over the likes of Colombia, Argentina, France and now Chile in locations all over the world.

"I am very happy with the players' reaction since the World Cup and how the players are dealing with everything after the World Cup," Dunga said. "They are determined to change what has happened in the past."

So were the Chileans.

They haven't beaten Brazil since 2000 — a run that now stretches 14 matches — and were looking to gain a measure of revenge after their penalty-shootout elimination by their South American rivals at the World Cup in the last 16.

Chile hounded and harried their opponents, with Neymar, in particular, targeted.

Hacked at twice by Miiko Albornoz in the opening 11 minutes, the Barcelona forward then writhed around in pain after Medel's stamp in the 22nd minute. So frustrated was Neymar by the end of the first half that he was booked for an accumulation of fouls made in retribution.

Brazil made six changes from the side that beat France 3-1 on Thursday and lacked fluency, carving out just one chance in the opening half. Douglas Costa collected Marcelo's cross but slashed a shot wide from the angle.

Chile had more of the ball and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, especially Alexis Sanchez on the ground where he plays his club football.

But Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson wasn't called up to make a genuine save until the second half. And even then, they were fairly routine stops from free kicks from Sanchez.

Firmino was one of four substitutes introduced by Dunga in the 61st minute and they helped give the Brazilians a foothold in the match. And within 11 minutes, they were ahead as Firmino outpaced Medel to latch onto Danilo's pass before applying a clinical finish.

There was typical Brazilian swagger in the way Firmino tucked away his second international goal, with the midfielder deciding to look the other way as he tapped the ball home.

"We are building a competitive team that is working through our obstacles very well," Dunga said. "Chile are a good team and we were strong throughout."

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