Jeers as Brazil hit Bolivia in Copa America opener

Saturday June 15 2019

Brazil players celebrate Philippe Coutinho's goal during the opening match of the 2019 Copa America against Bolivia at Morumbi stadium on June 14, 2019. PHOTO | AFP |

Brazil players celebrate Philippe Coutinho's goal during the opening match of the 2019 Copa America against Bolivia at Morumbi stadium on June 14, 2019. PHOTO | AFP |  

BBC SPORT
By BBC SPORT
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Brazil were jeered by their own fans in their opening Copa America game against Bolivia despite winning 3-0.

Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho scored twice and Everton netted a superb third late on in Sao Paulo.

Fans at the Morumbi stadium, which was around 70% full, booed Brazil at the break after a goalless first half in the Group A match.

Manager Tite said he "expected" a negative reaction from supporters after his team's lacklustre performance.

"We felt it ... young lads feel it, the coach feels it." the 56-year-old said.

"We need to understand. If we get forward and create chances then they will applaud.

"Having been at big clubs, when you sometimes don't produce, then don't expect the fans to understand. They will boo. When you pass the ball along the back, from full-back to central defender to goalkeeper, the first thing you hear is boo."

No Neymar, no problem?

Brazil, who are without Paris St-Germain striker Neymar due to an ankle ligament injury, started with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino up front and Manchester City's Fernandinho in midfield.

Neither could break down Bolivia's resistance in the first half, as a large section of the 46,342 fans in the stands made their frustrations clear.

But the fans saw a brighter Brazil in the second half, as former Liverpool forward Coutinho, 27, scored the first goal of the tournament from the penalty spot in the 50th minute following a Bolivia handball, and added his second with deft header three minutes later.

Substitute Everton, 23, lashed home the third in the 85th minute - a first international goal for the Gremio striker - to seal the win for Brazil, who were playing a home game in white shirts for the first time in 60 years.

Brazil are hosting the Copa America for the first time since 1989, with all 10 South American teams taking part, along with guest nations Qatar and Japan.

In the second Group A game Peru play Venezuela in Porto Alegre on Saturday (10:00 EAT), while Brazil's next match is against Venezuela (01:00 EAT) in Salvador on Wednesday.

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