Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2013 Contents A59
Thursday, September 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
FOXBOROUGH---With one of the
top players in the world sidelined,
another international superstar
put on a show. Neymar scored
once and set up Brazil s other two
goals during a 3-1 victory over
Portugal in a friendly on Tues-
"He has been playing very well
for three, four years," Brazil coach
Luiz Felipe Scolari said through a
translator. "Only once in every 15
or 20 games does he not play what
he knows how to do.
"But normally, Neymar is this."
Thiago Silva and Jo also scored
for the Confederations Cup cham-
pions and 2014 World Cup host
before 62,310 fans at Gillette Sta-
The result may have been dif-
ferent, though, had Portugal been
playing with Cristiano Ronaldo,
who was absent dealing with ten-
Ronaldo, the second-highest
goal-scorer in Portugal s history,
played through pain on Friday,
according to team doctor Henrique
Jones, recording his first interna-
tional hat trick in a World Cup
qualifying victory over Northern
"Naturally, he has a great influ-
ence on the way we play. But we
didn t lose this game due to his
absence," Portugal coach Paulo
Bento said through a translator.
Scolari wasn t too disappointed
Ronaldo didn t play.
"I don t miss him a lot," he said
with a laugh. "He would compli-
cate our life a lot more."
Three days after defeating Aus-
tralia 6-0, Brazil came out slug-
After hitting the post with a
header in the 11th minute, Raul
Meireles gave Portugal a 1-0 lead
in the 17th when he intercepted a
misplayed header by Brazil defend-
Brazil answered in the 24th
when Neymar s corner kick found
the head of Silva, who rose high
in the box and drove the ball past
goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Neymar put Brazil in front for
good in the 34th, deftly dribbling
35 yards past at least five Portugal
players before sending a shot into
the lower left side.
He later slid a pass up the side-
line to Maxwell, who centred a ball
that Jo easily put into the back of
the net in the 49th.
Alessandro Della Valle was back in
his office at a ceramics retailer yes-
terday, his international football career
a little less unsung.
The night before, he d scored the
first goal in five long years for tiny San
Marino, a punch bag of European foot-
The 2014 World Cup qualifier against
Poland ended as they almost always
do for the speck of a republic---with a
loss. Only, for once, the score wasn t
something massive to nil.
With his first-half header off a free
kick, Della Valle made the final score
a somewhat less embarrassing 5-1,
earning the amateur player the admi-
ration of co-workers when he rolled
back into the office.
"They welcomed me like a national
hero. It was strange," he said in a
Landlocked San Marino sits atop
a hill in central Italy near Rimini and
the Adriatic coast. It has a population
of only 32,000, with just 1,586 of
them registered as footballers,
according to governing body Fifa.
Along with the Himalayan king-
dom of Bhutan and the Turks and
Caicos Islands east of Cuba, San
Marino sits at the very bottom of
Fifa s world rankings.
Mirko Palazzi is the only profes-
sional player on the otherwise com-
pletely amateur team that lost to
Poland, said Alan Gasperoni, who
volunteers his spare time to act as
the team s press officer.
San Marino has never won a com-
petitive encounter. Its only victory,
1-0 against Liechtenstein in 2004,
was in a friendly.
Della Valle s goal was his first for
the national team, only the 15th ever
for San Marino in official competi-
tion, and the first since Andy Selva
scored in a 3-1 loss to Slovakia in
2010 World Cup qualifying.
"Just scoring at all for our team
is a dream, but for a defender it s
something nearly unimaginable. So
it was incredible," said the 31-year-
His joy was short-lived. Poland
captain Jakub Blaszczykowski put his
team back ahead just one minute after
Della Valle leveled the score on 1-1.
But after the match, Della Valle s
equaliser ensured the beer and pizza
shared by the San Marino team went
down a little easier.
Brazilian star scores and sets
up two goals in win over Portugal
Brazil's Neymar celebrates his goal against Portugal during the first half of a friendly soccer match Tuesday,
in Foxborough, Mass. AP PHOTO
Beers, pizza for
first San Marino
goal in five years
San Marino's Alessandro Della Valle celebrates after scoring during a World Cup
qualifying group H match between Poland and San Marino at the Serravalle
stadium in San Marino, Tuesday. AP PHOTO
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