Mano Menezes enjoyed a winning start to his reign at the Brazil helm as the Selecao defeated the United States in a friendly in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Tuesday night.
Debutant Neymar opened the scoring after 28 minutes for the visitors and Alexandre Pato doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time to help the five-time world champions begin the post-Dunga era on a positive note.
A strong Brazil line-up were rarely troubled by Bob Bradley’s side, and could have won by a healthier margin. USA goalkeeper Tim Howard had an impressive first half despite conceding two goals, but was replaced at the break by Brad Guzan.
Neymar, making his first full appearance at senior level after being left out of Dunga’s World Cup squad, opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark when he headed home an Andre Santos cross from the left. The hosts had no reply to the attacking football Brazil displayed at the Meadowlands stadium, and found themselves two behind just before the interval.
AC Milan forward Pato caught the US defenders sleeping as he latched onto Ramires’ pass and rounded Howard before slotting into the net. Brazil went close to making it 3-0 early in the second half but captain Robinho, who returned to Manchester City earlier this summer following a loan spell with Santos, could only hit the post after picking up possession following a Neymar shot.
Both coaches decided to give their substitutes chances to shine during the second period. One of those introduced was Ederson, who came on for his first Brazil appearance for Neymar in the 72nd minute but lasted only two minutes before leaving the pitch injured and being replaced by Carlos Eduardo.
The Selecao had no problems keeping the ball inside the US half, with the home team showing little willingness to get back into the game. However, the US side almost capitalised on some uncharacteristically sloppy passing by Brazil and looked set to pull a goal back through Michael Bradley, but he was adjudged offside.