Neymar of Brazil reacts after stumbling during their international friendly match against Peru at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles on Tuesday. — AFP photo
A late goal from Luis Abram gave Peru a 1-0 win over Brazil in Los Angeles on Tuesday and handed the five-times world champions their first defeat in over a year while Lautaro Martinez netted a hat-trick in just 40 minutes as Argentina blitzed Mexico 4-0 in another friendly at San Antonio.
Abram nipped in ahead of goalkeeper Ederson to nod home a free kick with six minutes remaining to end Brazil’s 17-match unbeaten run that began after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Brazil, who beat Peru in the final of the Copa America just two months ago, started without Neymar, Dani Alves and Thiago Silva, all of whom were rested, and they looked like they missed their stalwarts.
Although Richarlison was busy up front, forcing Pedro Gallese to tip one fierce shot round the post, Brazil never looked in full control of the game.
Even the second half introduction of Neymar and attackers Vinicius Junior, Lucas Paqueta and Bruno Henrique, could not lift Brazil, who lost to Peru for just the fifth time in 46 games.
‘We had chances and they punished us from a dead ball situation,’ said full back Fagner. ‘It’s a learning process and we’ll grow from this, defeats happen and we need to take what we can from it.’
At San Antonio, Martinez, the Internazionale striker took advantage of shocking defending to fire three angled shots past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 17th, 22nd and 39th minutes.
Leandro Paredes scored from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.
Argentina dropped the pace in the second period but still faced little resistance from an untidy Mexico side who did not manage a shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.
Eight players were shown yellow cards in a match that rarely lived up to its ‘friendly’ billing, but the game will be remembered largely for the brilliant finishing that brought the 22-year-old Martinez his first international hat-trick.
‘I’m delighted and emotional,’ he said. ‘One has to make a lot of sacrifices to get here and it’s not every day that you score three goals wearing this shirt.’
The result was Mexico’s heaviest defeat since they lost 7-0 to Chile in 2016. It was also the first loss for coach Gerardo Martino, who had guided them to 11 straight wins since taking over in January.