Brazil coach defends Neymar

Brazil coach defends Neymar

While Neymar dazzled in the opening win over Peru, he failed to shine and appeared nervous against Colombia.

By (AP)

Published: Mon 22 Jun 2015, 11:41 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:52 PM

Santiago — Brazil coach Dunga came in defence of his star striker Neymar after he was suspended for four games thus ruling him out of the Copa America.

The Brazilian confederation’s “legal department will file a counterpoint to Neymar’s sanction,”  Dunga said in a news conference in Santiago.

Dunga said Neymar was hugely important in football, and therefore the sanctions against him were huge, too.

“We don’t want anything in favour or against, just what’s fair,” Dunga said.

A Conmebol disciplinary panel ruled on Friday that he must sit out four games for his conduct in a 1-0 loss to Colombia on Wednesday, when he was sent off after the final whistle. He was also fined $10,000.

While Neymar dazzled in the opening win over Peru, he failed to shine and appeared nervous against Colombia.

He clashed with opponents, and constantly complained to Chilean referee Enrique Osses. After the game, Neymar said it was all caused by a “weak referee.”

Neymar received a yellow card during the game, and second of the tournament, which would’ve been enough to keep him from playing on Sunday in the key group match against Venezuela.

“Neymar was hit 20 times during the game. After, he lost control and touched the ball with his hand, and he got a yellow card. Is this fair?” Dunga asked.

“Just like (Alexis) Sanchez, (Lionel) Messi, and (Angel) Di Maria, these players have to be protected from so many fouls.”

Neymar was red-carded after apparently kicking the ball towards Colombia’s Pablo Armero after the ref blew for fulltime. He also appeared to head-butt another player who came to confront him.

Alberto Lozada, a member of the disciplinary committee, said Neymar received a tough sanction because he confronted and verbally abused the ref before going into the changing rooms.

“The referee’s report says that Neymar was waiting for him to insult him,” Lozada told The Associated Press.

“Neymar grabbed him by the arms, and told him: ‘You want to get famous through me, you son of a (expletive)?’”

Lozada said Brazil argued that Neymar did not mean to hit Armero when he kicked the ball, but just wanted to vent his frustration.

More news from Football