Brazil head into W Gold Cup Final with 3-0 win over 10-player Mexico

March 6 – Brazil beat Mexico 3-0 to head into the W Gold Cup final with goals from Antonia, Adriana and a precocious backheel from Yasmim on a wet early evening at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

Mexico, a goal down, had to play most of the last hour with 10 players against a Brazilian team that has grown in confidence and effectiveness as this tournament has progressed.

It was a tough evening for a Mexican side who produced one of the surprise results of the W Gold Cup with a 2-0 group win over the US, but after the sending off there was only ever going to be one outcome.

They will be back and will get stronger, but they still have another step to take if they are to consistently challenge the US and Canada as Concacaf’s top women’s nation. In coach Pedro Lopez they have guide who can get them there, but not even he could juggle his line-up to cope with Brazil once they were a player short.

Antonia scored Brazil’s second with a curling left footed shot from the edge of the box

Arthur Elias made four changes to his Brazil starting line-up from their comfortable 5-1 win over Argentina in the quarter finals, bringing Amy Borges and Adriana back into their midfield, the imposing Tarciane into centre of defence and adding Debinha to the forward line.

Following their 3-2 win over Paraguay, Mexico brought in Maria Sanchez and Diana Ordonez up front alongside Kiana Palacios, Ordonez adding more physical presence.

Mexico started well with their press forcing Brazilian forcing mistakes in their own half. A flowing passing move saw Mexico swing the ball left to right to Jacqueline Orvalle whose final ball almost set Palacios free.

Mexico had the momentum and were winning the ball but they could not find the finish close enough to goal.

Brazil’s main threat early on was on the left with Yasmim in particular a physical presence.

As the clock approached the 20’ mark Brazil were working their way through the Mexican press and beginning to build possession. Bia Zanaretto dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box.

In the 22nd minute they made the pressure count, pouncing on a Mexican mistake to take the lead.

A ball into the Mexico box was not dealt with by goalkeeper Estephany Barreras or her defenders allowing Adriana to hook the loose ball into the Mexican net – 1-0.

Brazil had taken the initiative away from Mexico and were forcing them to defend deep.

In the 28th minute disaster struck for Mexico and it was to be the deciding factor.

Nicolette Hernandez covering on the top of the box sliced through Bia Zanaretto and was given a straight red after a VAR review.

Two minutes later Antonia put Brazil 2-0 up with a left footed shot from the top of the box that curled round Barreras. It was a cruel and rapid change of circumstances for Mexico.

With the rain starting to bring a chill to the Mexican party, Lopez pulled off forwards Ordonez and Maria Sanchez, bringing on defenders Karina Rodrigues and Reyna Reyes to create a stronger defensive shape and stop the chaos that was reigning in front of Barreras.

In added time Mexico saw some respite with Karla Nieto hitting a shot that was blocked and Alexia Delgado blasting over from distance.

Mexico went in at half time having stabilised their line-up but with a huge uphill task ahead of them.

It doesn’t really matter how you set up when Brazil are in this kind of mood though.

Three minutes into the start of the second half a ball driven across the box from the right found Yasmim who nonchalantly backheeled past Barreras, silencing the Mexican fans drumming behind the goal – 3-0.

Brazil were having fun. Adriana, Gabi Portilho and Debinha all shot wide and there was still 38’ to play.

Orvalle sparked the Mexican fans into life just after the hour mark with a breakaway but her shot was straight into Luciana’s arms. A minute later she was brought down deep in the Brazil half but the free kick was wasted. Karen Luna drove to the Brazil byline and her cross just drifted over Luciana’s bar.

Mexico were battling, against the weather and Brazil.

At the other end Vitoria Yaya hit the post and had another close range shot saved by Barreras.

Orvalle is a very bright light for Mexico and was matching Brazil for skill. On 74’ she left a trail of Brazilian defenders in her wake as she drove in from the left but couldn’t finish.

A minute later she won a free kick on the top of the box but the chance was wasted.

Brazil had the ball in the back of Mexico’s net on 82’ but it was ruled out for a foul in the box.

Brazil will have tougher evenings.

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