Brazil wary of fiery clash with Colombia

SAO PAULO • A resurgent Brazil, buoyed by the sparkling form of teenage forward Gabriel Jesus, face Colombia this morning (Singapore time) as the latest instalment of an increasingly bitter rivalry takes centre stage in South America's 2018 World Cup qualifying race.

Brazil head into the game brimming with confidence after a 3-0 victory over Ecuador last Thursday - their first ever qualifying win in Quito - with Jesus, still only 19, scoring twice and winning a penalty.

That win came hard on the heels of their Olympics triumph last month, with Barcelona superstar Neymar leading the country to their first football gold medal.

The game against Colombia in Manaus comes after a series of fractious encounters between the sides, dating back to their 2014 World Cup quarter-final clash.

That encounter saw Neymar suffer a tournament-ending back injury in a game scarred by 54 fouls.

At last year's Copa America, Colombia won 1-0 in an ugly match which ended with a mass brawl.

According to defender Dani Alves, Brazil will be wary of being provoked by Colombia's players.

Said the right-back: "That's what we have to focus on. We aren't looking for trouble. We are here to play football, not to fight."

Colombia are third in the standings with 13 points, and warmed up for the encounter with a comfortable 2-0 win over Venezuela last Thursday. XINHUA,


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Brazil wary of fiery clash with Colombia'. Subscribe