FORTALEZA, Brazil, (Reuters) – Neymar struck with a stunning early volley for the second Confederations Cup game in a row and brilliantly set up the second goal to give Brazil a 2-0 win over Mexico yesterday.
Neymar met the ball at a difficult height after Mexico defender Francisco Rodriguez failed to properly clear a header and showed great technique to volley the ball left-footed past Jose Corona in the ninth minute.
He brought the crowd to its feet against in stoppage time when he slipped between two Mexican defenders and crossed for substitute Jo to score easily.
Earlier, the Barcelona-bound 21-year-old said on Facebook that he had been “inspired” by the protests which have rocked Brazilian cities in the last few days.
Brazil, who have won both Group A games without conceding a goal, dominated the first 20 minutes but Mexico, who have lost their two matches, came close to an equaliser several times.
The game went ahead against the backdrop of demonstrations outside the stadium with protesters demanding “health, education, not corruption.”
The nationwide protests were sparked last week by transportation fare increases, which came as Brazil struggles with annual inflation of 6.5 percent, unleashing a tide of complaints that caught authorities off guard.
Inside the stadium, fans enthusiastically sang the national anthem and some held up signs saying: “This protest is not against the national team but against corruption.”
On the field, Brazil produced an electrifying opening with Neymar, who was at the heart of many of the quick counter-attacks, rifling another shot over the crossbar.