Tite praises Brazil despite Nigeria draw extending their winless run
Selecao's draw with Nigeria means they have not won any of their last 4 matches
|(Casemiro 48)||(Joe Aribo 35)|
When it was announced last month that five-time world champions Brazil would be playing against Senegal and Nigeria at the National Stadium, there was plenty of excitement in local circles.
After all, they are synonymous with samba football and famed for producing some of the best players in history.
But the Selecao have been disappointing in their outings here, both of which ended 1-1.
Last night, watched by a crowd of 20,385, the Brazilians were held to a stalemate by Nigeria.
Brazil, who sit third in the Fifa rankings, were again unable to beat inferior opposition, and at times, resorted to long balls against world No. 34 Nigeria.
The latest result means that the Selecao are on a four-game winless streak, which includes the 1-1 draw with Senegal last Thursday, a 2-2 stalemate with Colombia and a 1-0 loss to Peru.
The last time that Brazil went on a similar run was from Nov 2012-March 2013.
Then, they could not muster a victory in five games, losing to Argentina and England in friendlies, and drawing with Colombia, Russia and Italy.
Brazil coach Tite insisted that they had a good outing last night, though.
He said: "We had some opportunities to score, but for me, we played a great match. But the result wasn't good.
"Today, we were good but it could be better. We had almost 10 opportunities to score.
"Criticism is inevitable. We are adjusting our team and trying to develop new systems. We live in a result-orientated world, but we are in the process of preparing for competition.
"Now is the time to make mistakes, but when we play in official competitions, we need to make zero mistakes.
"I will try to get us playing more like we did in the second half."
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, meanwhile, said Brazil's trip to Singapore was a boost for Africa.
He said: "These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world...
"It feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football."
Perhaps the premature departure of superstar Neymar after just 12 minutes had disrupted Brazil's rhythm.
The Paris Saint-Germain attacker seemed to have hurt his left hamstring and had to be replaced by Philippe Coutinho. As Neymar limped off the pitch, he was surprisingly met with a mix of cheers and jeers.
But fans would have at least felt like they got bang for their buck last night.
Unlike the dour affair last Thursday, they were treated to an entertaining evening, with Nigeria's pace and power, in particular, getting fans on their feet.
The Super Eagles took the lead in the 35th minute through a composed finish from Joe Aribo.
The Rangers midfielder found enough time in the box to skip past challenges from Marquinhos and an onrushing Thiago Silva, before finishing past Ederson for his second goal in as many matches.
Brazil emerged from the dressing room eager to make up for the disappointing first half.
Within three minutes of the restart, they found the equaliser through Casemiro. The Real Madrid midfielder was on hand to turn in the rebound after Marquinhos' header had crashed off the crossbar.
While the first half was an even contest, the second was all Brazil.
But, despite numerous chances to register the winner, Tite's men just couldn't find the net.
Everton's Richarlison, who came on at half-time, went the closest, with his effort from inside the box coming off the post in the 72nd minute.
Perhaps it's indicative of where his team stand at the moment, plenty of huff and puff but devoid of that one magical moment.
Ederson, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Renan Lodi, Casemiro, Arthur, Gabriel Jesus (Lucas Paqueta 88), Neymar (Philippe Coutinho 12), Everton (Richarlison 46), Roberto Firmino (Gabriel Barbosa 63)
Francis Uzoho (Maduka Okoye 63), Chidozie Awaziem, William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Jamilu Collins, Joe Aribo (Shehu Abdullahi 90+4), Wilfred Ndidi, Moses Simon (Emmanuel Dennis 79), Alex Iwobi (Ramon Azeez 84), Samuel Chukwueze (Peter Olayinka 89), Victor Osimhen (Paul Onuachu 74)