NEW YORK: Brazil, two months from an Olympic football tournament in which their fans demand a first gold, have struck lead in the Copa America Centenario.
Coach Dunga saw his team eliminated in the last round of the group tage when a contentious goal by substitute Raul Riudiaz provided a shock 1-0 victory for Peru.
The Peruvian forward appeared to use his hand to score from close range with 16 minutes remaining and after a long delay while the referee consulted with his assistant while taking advice through an earpiece, he allowed the goal to stand to the Brazilians’ fury.
This was the first time Brazil had been knocked out before the closing stages since 1987. A draw would have been enough to take them through.
Two years ago Brazil were humiliated in front of their own fans when they collapsed 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Then, as now, they were without superstar forward Neymar.
In 2014 he was injured and was rested from the Copa Centenario so as to be available, in a deal with his club Barcelona, for the Rio Olympics.
Peru’s victory lifted them to the top of Group B while Brazil slipped to third behind Ecuador in the tournament being played in the United States to celebrate the centenary of governing body CONMEBOL and the Copa America.
Peru will play Colombia in the quarter-finals in New Jersey on Friday, while the US hosts face Ecuador in Seattle a day earlier.
Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina have qualified from the other two groups with a match to play with either Chile or Panama joining them in the quarter-finals pending the result of their showdown on Tuesday.
Brazil defender Miranda said: “We saw that the ball hit his hand but the referee said he discussed it with four officials and that they didn’t see a handball.”
Earlier Ecuador thrashed Haiti 4-0 to guarantee their quarter-final berth with goals from Enner Valencia, Jaime Ayovi, Christian Noboa and Antonio Valencia.
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