Neymar praised by football coach for 'gorgeous show'

15 December 2011 06:16

Santos coach Muricy Ramalho praised star striker Neymar for a "gorgeous show" during the South American champions' 3-1 Club World Cup win over J-League top dogs Kashiwa Reysol.

The 19-year-old sensation proved he can score when it matters as he curled in a left-footer on 19 minutes to open the account for Santos in the semi-final match in Toyota.

"As you could see, Neymar is that kind of player. He is a man who can decide the match by putting on a gorgeous show," Ramalho told Japanese media, according to the Nikkan Sports daily.

Santos are likely to face Barcelona -- featuring Argentine superstar Lionel Messi -- in the final on Sunday, with the European champions favourites to beat Asian title holders Al Sadd in the other last-four match.

"It would be great if we can play Barcelona. I will cheer for them," Neymar told Japanese media. He was due to watch the Catalan side's semi-final on Thursday in Yokohama.

The right-footed striker, one of the most coveted players outside Europe, avoided a sliding challenge from Kashiwa defender Hidekazu Otani and kicked the ball with his left foot into the top corner.

"It worked very well. It was an excellent goal," said Neymar, in his third year as a professional at Santos, the club where the legendary Pele also plied his trade. "I thought for a moment what I should do. But I decided to shoot right off.

"Kashiwa are a very good team and they made us work. But we were lucky we could beat them."

Japanese defender Hiroki Sakai, who pulled one back for Kashiwa and matched up against Neymar, said: "You can only stop Neymar by fouling him."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 16:17