Gabriel Jesus made one goal, scored another and was sent off in the second half as Brazil beat Peru 3-1 on Sunday to win the Copa America for the ninth time in a pulsating contest at the Maracana stadium.
The host took the lead after 15 minutes thanks to some brilliant skill from Jesus on the wing. The Manchester City forward bamboozled two defenders and crossed for the unmarked Everton to fire home from close range.
“In the last game I was quiet and I was very disappointed with myself”, said Man of the Match Everton. “I got it in my head that I had to give everything, independent of scoring. I had to sweat blood for my team mates. Our team deserves congratulations for a great game”.
Peru, which last won the tournament in 1975, got an equaliser a minute before half-time when Paolo Guerrero scored from the penalty spot after Thiago Silva handled the ball.
The goal was the first Brazil had conceded in six games at the Copa America but it did not shake its confidence and it retook the lead moments later after a well-worked move from midfield.
Roberto Firmino showed some nice skill on the right touchline before giving the ball to Arthur. The midfielder strode forward and fed Jesus, who coolly slotted the ball past a helpless Pedro Gallese.
Peru pushed forward in the second half and was thrown a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when Jesus was sent off.
It was Brazil’s first major title since it won the Copa America in 2007 and the first for coach Tite, who took charge three years ago.
It also did it without Neymar, who was injured on the eve of the tournament.
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca recognised Brazil was the superior side but said his team was competitive throughout.
“It was fair that Brazil won,” he said. “We had our momentum but the second goal.“They took advantage of their opportunities”.
“We came here hoping to win but they were very effective,” he added. “But looking beyond the pain of the defeat, I think we are on the right path, that is the feeling that I have.”
The result: Brazil 3 (Everton 15, Jesus 45+3, Richarlison 90-pen) bt Peru 1 (Guerrero 44-pen).