WATCH - Raphinha completes brace with brilliant goal on full Brazil debut as Leeds United winger dazzles next to Neymar
Leeds United winger Raphinha capped a breakthrough week with his best display yet on his Brazil full debut, featuring a brilliant brace and natural chemistry with Neymar.
The Whites star was handed his first Brazil start by boss Tite in the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay held in Manaus in the early hours of Friday morning.
The 24-year-old was given a place in the starting XI on the back of two dazzling displays from the bench in World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Colombia in the space of three days this week.
Raphinha was particularly effective in last Friday's Brazil debut against Venezuela in which he bagged two assists and started the move that led to a converted penalty as Tite's side turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win.
The Leeds ace was then brought on in the 61st minute of Sunday night's clash against Colombia and quickly began creating chances that were squandered as part of a goalless draw.
The winger was rewarded with his first Brazil start against Uruguay and took just 18 minutes to bag a goal and a pre-assist.
Lining up alongside Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha instantly took up his position hugging the right touchline and was heavily involved as Brazil took a tenth-minute lead.
The Leeds star cut inside from the right and played a simple square ball for Manchester United midfielder Fred who sent in a peach of a through ball for Neymar who did the rest by rounding keeper Fernando Muslera and netting from a tight angle.
Raphinha was once again causing mayhem and next produced a sublime piece of skill to nutmeg left back Matis Vina who went right through the winger and was lucky not to be booked.
But less than one minute later Raphinha found himself on the scoresheet as a Neymar shot from inside the area was deflected across the box and parried by keeper Muslera but only into the path of the Whites winger who arrived at the back post to net from close range.
Brazil were absolutely cruising with Neymar and Raphinha flanking Jesus and Raphinha could have ended the half with at least another goal and an assist.
Jesus and Raphinha both had chances to shoot from inside the box in the 34th minute after good work from Neymar but the duo unselfishly opted to pass to each other and Uruguay consequently survived.
Raphinha was then picked out in the area five minutes later and reacted quickly after his shot was blocked to set up Neymar who was only denied a second goal by a terrific flying save.
Just one minute later, the Whites winger worked an opening at a very tight angle and produced a shot that would have squirmed in at the near post but for yet another save from Muslera.
In the fourth minute of added time, there was still time for a lovely step over from Raphinha to a Neymar square ball as part of a neat move that ended with Jesus curling an effort just over the top left corner.
The Whites winger instantly took of his shirt at the half-time whistle, raising suspicions that he might be coming off but the Leeds star emerged for the start of the second half and it was a case of as you were as Brazil caused more chaos piling forward.
After winning a corner, Raphinha looked destined to score his second goal of the game when picked out in the area in the 50th minute only for Muslera to produce more heroics.
Uruguay then threatened to work their way into the game but two minutes before the hour Brazil blitzed the visitors with a rapid counter from which Raphinha bagged his second goal of the game.
Tite's side broke from deep at pace and Neymar supplied a perfect through ball for Raphinha who raced clear as he crossed the pitch from right to left, carrying the ball towards the edge of the box before unleashing a thumping drive that flew in off the right-hand post.
The new dynamic duo of Neymar and Raphinha celebrated together before Tite made a double change in the 61st minute but not the one Whites fans wanted to see with Saturday's return to Premier League action at Southampton in mind.
Raphinha stayed on the pitch as Jesus and Lucas Paqueta were instead withdrawn for Gabriel Barbosa and Antony.
But Tite decided enough was enough for the Whites winger ten minutes later as Raphinha was brought off for Everton Ribeiro as part of another double change with Brazil 3-0 up and en route to a 4-1 victory, Barbosa adding the home side's fourth and final goal following a Luis Suarez free-kick for Uruguay.
This, though, again, was the Raphinha show, and this was easily his best yet.
Asked at Thursday's pre-match press conference whether Raphinha would play in Saturday's clash against the Saints at St Mary's, Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa said: "There is no doubt that there is a short turnaround.
"The options that he has to participate in the game on Saturday depends on whether he plays this final game tonight, how many minutes he plays, how he finishes the game after he has participated in it, how efficient the rest he can have in the next 36 hours is considering that a third of those hours he is going to spend it flying.
"If there is any risk that that fatigue could cause injuries than we won’t risk it. There are so many aspects to consider that I can’t offer you any certainties either way.”
A message from the Editor:
Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.
We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.
Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.
With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
Click here to subscribe.
For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.
Thank you Laura Collins