Brazil knocks Honduras for six as Olympic fever hits home
Neymar and new Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus both score two goals
Neymar goes flying through the air after scoring the quickest goal in Olympic football history in the semi-final victory over Honduras at Maracana Stadium. Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Brazil 6 Honduras 0
It took just 14 seconds for Neymar to send Brazil on their way to a fourth Olympic final and within sight of an elusive gold medal.
New Manchester City recruit Gabriel Jesus also scored twice before half-time and goals from Marquinhos, Luan and a Neymar penalty wrapped up a 6-0 semi-final rout of Honduras.
Three times Brazil have had to settle for silver, including in London four years ago when they lost to Mexico, but if they could make it fourth time lucky here on Saturday then Rio might fall in love with the Olympics after all.
Empty seats were at a premium on a baking hot afternoon at the cavernous Maracana and the yellow hordes were in fine voice.
They had barely finished belting out the national anthem when Brazil went ahead.
Already up against it, Honduran defender Johnny Palacios did his team no favours by presenting the ball to Neymar in front of goal.
Goalkeeper Luis Lopez came out to challenge but the ball deflected off Neymar’s knee and in for the fastest goal in Olympic football history.
Neymar took a blow to the stomach for his troubles and initially it looked like he would not be able to continue as he was carried off on a stretcher but soon he was jogging back on.
Brazil were utterly dominant and Luan and Jesus both might have extended the lead before they combined for the second in the 26th minute.
Luan played the through ball and Jesus beat the offside trap to slot the ball under Lopez.
The 19-year-old joined City earlier this month from Palmeiras but has been loaned back to the Brazilian club until January.
On this form, he looks a very fine acquisition indeed, and nine minutes after his first goal he added another, again beating the Honduran defence for pace and this time confidently striking the ball high into the net.
Luan missed a chance to extend the lead just after half-time when he poked a shot straight at Lopez but with 51 minutes on the clock Brazil had their fourth.
A corner landed at the feet of an unmarked Marquinhos on the edge of the six-yard box and he had time to sort his feet out before slotting home.
Twice Neymar nearly added to the tally from free-kicks, first forcing a fine save at the base of his post from Lopez before curling an effort just wide.
Eleven minutes from time Brazil struck again, substitute Felipe Anderson setting up Luan for a tap in.
But they conceded a sixth in stoppage time. Palacios’ miserable afternoon was complete when he was adjudged to have fouled Luan and Neymar stepped up to roll in the penalty.
The hosts will head into the final against either their World Cup tormentors Germany or Nigeria having scored 12 goals and conceded none.