Football: Brazil take 1-0 lead at half-time through stunning Neymar goal

Japan's Shiotani Tsukasa (left) and Brazil's forward Neymar compete for the ball during their friendly football match at the National Stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japan's Shiotani Tsukasa (left) and Brazil's forward Neymar compete for the ball during their friendly football match at the National Stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Brazil's forward Neymar (front) celebrates his first goal with team mates in a friendly football match against Japan team at the National stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Brazil's forward Neymar (front) celebrates his first goal with team mates in a friendly football match against Japan team at the National stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Brazil's forward Neymar celebrates his first goal in a friendly football match against Japan team at the National stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Brazil's forward Neymar celebrates his first goal in a friendly football match against Japan team at the National stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Brazil's Neymar (left) takes a free-kick against Japan during their friendly soccer match at the national stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Brazil's Neymar (left) takes a free-kick against Japan during their friendly soccer match at the national stadium in Singapore on Oct 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Neymar at Brazil vs Japan at Singapore Sports Hub on Oct 14, 2014. -- ST PHOTO : WANG HUI FEN
Neymar at Brazil vs Japan at Singapore Sports Hub on Oct 14, 2014. -- ST PHOTO : WANG HUI FEN

SINGAPORE - Brazil lead Japan 1-0 at half-time in their international football friendly at the Singapore Sports Hub on Tuesday.

Watched by a packed 55,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium, the five-time World Cup winners took the lead in the 18th minute, when star player Neymar Jr latched onto a through ball by Diego Tardelli, rounded Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima before blasting an unstoppable shot into the net.

The 22-year-old had earlier hit the post with a direct free-kick, and was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch with his deft flicks and fluid dribbling. One such dribble in the third minute got fans on their feet, only for the ball to bounce away.

The pitch, which was criticised by both teams before the match, was still sandy at kick-off. The ball bobbed around the pitch, while players kicked up ball and sand at times. Groundsmen were on the pitch during the break, armed with rakes, as they try to repair the pitch.

The sea of yellow- and blue-shirted fans awaits the second-half. Follow @stsportsdesk for live Twitter updates.