Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli scored the first goal for his country but he was unable to prevent Brazil from losing 2-1 to Colombia on Thursday night.
The 22-year-old scored with just 4 minutes on the clock and, delivering their verdict on the player after the game, Globo Esporte praised his display:
“He scored for the first time in his eighth game with the Selecao shirt – only his second as a starter. He was one of the best in Brazil, not just for his goal.”
Martinelli got a 7/10 rating, which was better than his teammate Gabriel who was given 5/10, with Brazil’s defence being breached twice by Liverpool’s Luis Diaz.
Martinelli’s selection was somewhat of a surprise
Brazil boss Fernando Diniz’s decision to start Martinelli up front did raise a few eyebrows. In the forward’s last game for Arsenal against Burnley, it looked like he had picked up a hamstring injury but it appears that the issue wasn’t that serious.
The fact that Martinelli started as a striker, a position he rarely plays for Arsenal, was also surprising, but he delivered the goods and scored on only his second start for the national team.
The defeat leaves Brazil’s World Cup qualification campaign in disarray
Martinelli’s team have now taken just 7 points from their opening 5 qualifiers, having also lost to Uruguay in the last international break.
They will take on Argentina next week knowing that they need a victory to get their campaign back on track. They currently sit 5th in the table, 5 points adrift of their next opponents.
There has been some speculation that Gabriel Jesus could return for that match at the Maracana but, after Martinelli scored against Colombia, he may keep his place ahead of his club teammate.