He assisted, he scored, he got sent off, and had a spectacular fit of emotions – Gabriel Jesus had an eventful Copa America final with Brazil.
No Neymar? No problem! Gabriel Jesus stepped up to the plate for Brazil in this years Copa America, and led them to the final as one of the standout performers in a side packed to the brim with top talent plying their trade at the biggest clubs in the world. Jesus, who plays for Manchester City of course, spearheaded the Selecao attack and was influential from the start of the tournament to the finish. In the final against Peru, he reached both ends of the individual performance spectrum – by winning Brazil the match, but nearly costing them in the end as well!
His assist to Everton for the opening goal was a thing of absolute beauty, and also perhaps something that we didn’t even know he was capable of pulling off. Gabriel Jesus showed immense composure, skill, and execution within those few seconds, and it gave Brazil a strong start to an important final.
After Peru equalized through a penalty, Jesus immediately gave Brazil the lead once more, with a goal that would turn out to be the match winner – the one that would win them their first Copa America in 12 years. He slotted home calmly inside the box after Arthur’s excellent run left him essentially unmarked in the box.
Gabriel Jesus was cruising, until the 70th minute, when he picked up a 2nd yellow card for an elbow after going up for an aerial challenge. Jesus was clearly distraught after the sending off, and was seen punching the VAR booth before imploding into a mess of tears. Of course, Brazil had to play 20 minutes more while down a man, so Jesus most likely felt as if he had let himself and his teammates down.
In another world, Peru might have scored once or maybe even twice, and won the match. Alas, this is not that world, and Brazil lifted the Copa America as deserved champions!