Gabriel Jesus stars and is sent off as Brazil wins first Copa America since 2007

Joey Gulino
Brazil's Gabriel Jesus (L) celebrates after scoring against Peru during the Copa America football tournament final match at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 7, 2019. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Gabriel Jesus starred for Brazil before being sent off in the Copa America final. (Getty)

Time works differently in Brazil, at least when it comes to soccer.

It’s been 12 years since the country won Copa America, and for others that might be OK.

Not for the Brazilians. Not that they have to worry about that anymore, either.

Gabriel Jesus was a terror before being sent off, and Brazil beat Peru 3-1 at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.

The planet’s most prolific footballing nation has won the World Cup more than anyone else, but Copa only the third-most times of any South American side. Sunday’s title marked the ninth overall for Brazil, trailing Uruguay’s 15 and Argentina’s 14.

This is, however, the fifth time Brazil has won it at home, following 1919, 1922, 1949 and 1989. And, as mentioned, it was Brazil’s first Copa crown in awhile.

If not for the 2013 Confederations Cup, a now-defunct tournament that nonetheless was treated significantly at the time, Brazil would have put together quite an arid decade overall. Prospects looked even bleaker after Neymar was ruled out of Copa America with yet another ankle injury in a friendly last month.

But the Brazilians banded together and rode a squad still rife with talent to the title, perhaps pushing themselves back in the stratosphere of the world’s elite.

Everton Soares scored the opening goal in the 15th minute, when Jesus carved out a sliver of space on the right and played a cross that met the waiting Everton alone in the box:

Paolo Guerrero pulled Peru level in the 44th minute through a penalty, which found Thiago Silva guilty of a handball in the area.

Jesus then scored right before halftime with a bit of individual brilliance, hesitating on a rolling Philippe Coutinho pass before setting himself up with the outside of his right foot and finishing lower left:

Jesus put Brazil in danger, however, by drawing a second yellow card for a bad challenge on Carlos Zambrano in the 70th minute, the second high-profile Copa America sending off in as many days.

Peru couldn’t capitalize, however, and Richarlison buried a penalty in the 90th minute to seal the trophy.

Despite the loss, Peru is on the upswing after reaching the Copa America final for the first time since last winning it in 1975. The Incas also made the World Cup last summer for the first time since 1982.

Brazil's Dani Alves lifts up the trophy after winning the final soccer match of the Copa America against Peru at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 7, 2019. Brazil won the match 3-1. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Dani Alves (13) and Brazil celebrate after winning Copa America on Sunday. (Associated Press)

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