Selecao not just about Neymar
Gabriel Jesus sparkles on debut to show Samba Boys are more than just Neymar
(Neymar 72-pen, Gabriel Jesus 87, 90+2)
At an altitude of 2,850 metres, Gabriel Jesus turned on the style to leave the hosts gasping for air.
Brazil cruised to a 3-0 away win over Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier as Jesus stirred the imagination of football purists on his senior debut for the Selecao.
At the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa, the "new Neymar" outshone the original one.
Neymar might have drawn first blood for Brazil yesterday morning (Singapore time), but it was Jesus who handed him the weapon.
The 19-year-old earned the penalty which the Barcelona forward subsequently converted from the spot, before slotting in two wonderfully taken goals to ensure this would be remembered as Jesus' afternoon in Quito.
It is the first World Cup qualifying win Brazil have notched in the Ecuadorian capital.
Some years down the road, it will also be remembered as the day Jesus announced his arrival on the big stage.
The supposedly one-man Brazil team have unearthed a raw gem ahead of schedule.
In his first 90 minutes in senior colours, Jesus stood on a par with Neymar, and ended up delivering more.
He fought the highlands battle like a seasoned veteran, with spring in his step and calculation in his methods.
There is an intuition to his game that is classic Brazilian.
Quick, confident and inventive, Jesus often torments his markers with his unpredictable dribbling and excellent first touch.
For months, he has teased an expectant world audience.
His solid displays at the 2015 Copinha in Sao Paulo, where he grew up in, alerted scouts the world over at the youth competition.
A tally of 26 goals in 71 matches for Palmeiras underlined the burgeoning promise.
Last month, Neymar led Brazil's first successful Olympic conquest but Jesus was also an integral member, scoring three goals in six matches, including their final group game win over Denmark and the semi-final fixture against Honduras.
Brazil legend Ronaldo couldn't help himself but chip in with his assessment of the youngster just about everyone is raving over.
He told Globo TV: "I'm a fan of Gabriel as I look at him and see myself when I was younger.
"I see many similarities between us."
Handed the striker's role by coach Tite yesterday morning, Jesus broke out of his cocoon in emphatic fashion.
With the score tied at 0-0, he embarked on a blistering run that took him beyond the backline before he was brought down by Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
Neymar then took over the duty to open the scoring from the spot in the 72nd minute.
Three minutes from time, Jesus demonstrated his superb awareness and timing in the penalty box, meeting a cross with a splendid flick at close range to double Brazil's lead.
But there was still time for Jesus to round off a five-star performance.
In the final moments, he received a pass at the edge of the penalty box and, without looking up, turned around and sent a rasping shot into the top corner to complete the misery for the Ecuadorians, who finished the match with 10 men.
During the match, Jesus also showed a willingness to regularly track back to cut off Ecuador's attacking supply route, which suggests he has the right attitude to go with the undoubted talent.
Manchester City fans can't wait to unwrap their Christmas gift, which cost them £27 million ($48.8m) plus add-ons last month.
Come December, when the Brazilian national championship ends, they will welcome one of football's hottest properties to the Etihad Stadium.
It took a personal call by manager Pep Guardiola to end a transfer scramble between Man City, Barcelona and Man United.
From the look of things, he's definitely worth the fee and fuzz.
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Tite praises Jesus and Neymar
Two goals from teenage prodigy Gabriel Jesus fired Brazil to their first-ever qualifying victory in Ecuador yesterday morning (Singapore time) to reignite the South American giants' 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.
Jesus, who signed for English side Manchester City from Palmeiras last month, underscored his status as one of the brightest talents in Brazilian football with two late goals as new coach Tite's reign got off to a dream start with a 3-0 victory.
"You don't get a better debut than that do you?" said Jesus.
"I am very happy to score on my debut not just for the goals, but also for the debut and the team."
The 19-year-old forward also played a key role in Brazil's opening goal, winning the penalty which Barcelona superstar Neymar duly converted in the 72nd minute.
For once though, Neymar, the hero of Brazil's first-ever Olympic football gold medal last month, was outshone by his fellow attacker, making his first senior appearance.
Jesus won the penalty for the first goal after bursting into the area and drawing a foul from Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
Paraguayan referee Enrique Caceres wasted no time in pointing to the spot before Neymar stepped up to score.
Jesus, another member of Brazil's triumphant Olympic campaign, then doubled Brazil's lead three minutes from time with a sublime flicked finish after Marcelo's low cross from the left flank.
It got better in stoppage time when Jesus surged forward against a ragged Ecuador defence to curl home a wonderful shot into the top corner for 3-0.
Brazil coach Tite singled out Neymar and Jesus for praise after the match.
Tite also thanked Palmeiras coach Cuca for his work with Jesus, as well as his previous bosses.
"I have to be fair. Cuca, Marcelo (Oliveira) and Oswaldo (de Oliveira) worked with Gabriel. It helped me a lot, I talked to them," he said.
"It is my thanks. The victory was very much thanks to them."
Tite also lauded Neymar, saying: "The whole team were good, and so was he. The Neymar of Brazil, originating from Santos. A technical leader... he has several facets, competitiveness, behaviour. He fulfilled his role."
The victory was Brazil's first win on the road in what has been a disappointing qualifying campaign so far, with the five-time world champions lying in sixth place, outside automatic qualifying, prior to yesterday morning's game.
Brazil coach Tite, who took over from Dunga after a humiliating first-round exit at the Copa America in June, praised the Selecao's teamwork.
"The whole team did very well, they had the spirit of solidarity," Tite said. "We suffered a bit at the beginning, but we had the character to get the win.
"The players were great both physically and technically. We'll enjoy this moment and then evaluate."
It was also the first time Brazil have ever beaten Ecuador in the thin air of Quito, which is located a dizzying 2,850 metres above sea level.
Tite also praised the contribution of his predecessor Dunga, saying the 1994 World Cup-winning captain had laid the foundations for yesterday morning's win.
"It was partly the legacy of Dunga - because the players were already adapted to play in their positions," he said. - Wire Services.