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Neymar closes in on Pele record as Brazil thrash Tunisia

Neymar closes in on Pele record as Brazil thrash Tunisia

Neymar has moved to within two goals of Pele‘s all-time Brazilian goalscoring record after netting in his side’s 5-1 friendly win over Tunisia this evening.

The five-time world champions ran riot in the first half of their final warm-up game before this winter’s World Cup, going into the break 4-1 ahead thanks to a brace from Barcelona’s Raphinha, either side of goals from Richarlison and Neymar’s penalty.

Montassar Taibi had briefly equalised for Tunisia in Paris, but they were comfortably second-best even before Dylann Bronn was sent off shortly before half time.

Brazil boss Tite demonstrated the strength in depth at his disposal in the second half as the likes of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Antony and Pedro came off the bench, the latter of whom capped off with scoring 16 minutes from time.

Just as impressive was the list of names that didn’t make it onto the field, with Ederson, Fabinho, Eder Militao, Bremer and Roberto Firmino among those not needed.

The win makes it seven in a row – and 14 matches unbeaten – for Brazil heading into the World Cup, where they will be looking to end a 20-year wait for title number six.

Pedro celebrates scoring for Brazil on September 27, 2022© Reuters

For Tunisia, their three-match winning streak and seven-game unbeaten run comes to an end in what is also their final outing before facing Denmark in their World Cup Group D opener on November 22.

While Raphinha stole the show on the night with two goals and an assist in the first half, Neymar may hog the headlines as he edged ever closer to dethroning three-time World Cup winner Pele as his country’s leading goalscorer of all time.

Pele’s record of 77 has stood for more than 51 years, but looks as though it could now be under threat during the World Cup in Qatar, with Neymar joining his esteemed compatriot and former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi as the only South American players to have reached 75 international goals.

Number 75 came from the penalty spot after Richarlison had restored Brazil’s lead within one minute of Taibi cancelling Raphinha’s opener.

Former Leeds United winger Raphinha made it 4-1 five minutes before half time, before Flamengo forward Pedro scored his first international goal in just his second Brazil appearance.

The win acts as another warning sign from Brazil ahead of the World Cup, where the Selecao will face Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.

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