Jeff J Mitchell
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and Neymar traded goals before the Brazilian superstar missed a late penalty in a 1-1 draw.
Brazil and Colombia squared off 19 months before the World Cup, except it was a friendly, and it was in New Jersey. This wasn't what we have come to expect from these two South American countries, but the play was it. It was open, fast paced and fun as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw. But the headline was Neymar and not for the goal he scored. It was for the penalty he missed.
Neymar stepped to the spot in the 81st minute of a tied match for what seemed like a sure winner, but instead the star skied his shot. He put it at least 10 yards over the bar, not even coming remotely close to the goal as the Brazilians' best chance at a winner passed.
The first half was a thrilling 45 minutes as Colombia controlled the midfield and did well to get to the final third, but they were sloppy near goal. Their touches betrayed them and their final balls just missed as they failed to create chances.
But finally, just two minutes before the break, Colombia broke through. James Rodriguez caught Brazil's defense out of shape and slipped a good ball in for Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, who was flying up the right wing. Cuardado ripped a shot that Diego Alves got a hand to, but it still hit the inside of the post and went in to give Colombia a lead.
Brazil wasn't bad in the first half, they just couldn't win the midfield battle. When they did get the ball forward, Neymar and Kaka were fantastic, creating chances left and right. Neymar was robbed once by David Ospina and Kaka came close on a couple occasions, while they hit the bar another time.
When their midfield improved in the second half, Brazil was able to even out the match some and finally got even through Neymar. The star made a fabulous play look so casual as he raced down the left, fake a shot, cut across and without breaking stride slipped a perfect shot just inside the near post.
But as good as that goal was, Neymar will be remembered for his penalty miss. It was that bad, and Brazil could only get a draw, which is probably a fair result against a Colombia team that played well.