SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil have never lost a match in Salvador’s Fonte Nova stadium but the home fans must be patient when they take on Peru in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifiers, Brazilian coach Dunga said.
“Fans know how important it is to support their team,” Dunga told reporters on Monday. “Sometimes the goals only come in the second half, details are decisive, we need to be patient without being oppressive, fans need to be understanding.”
Brazil have had an uneven start to their World Cup campaign, losing to Chile, beating Venezuela and drawing with Argentina.
They sit fourth in the 10-team group, with the top four qualifying automatically for Russia 2018 and the fifth-place side going into a playoff.
Hometown boy Dani Alves said the criticism of unpopular Dunga and the Brazil side was overblown and called on fans and media to get behind them.
”I really believe in energy and the energy is always very heavy in Brazil, it’s much lighter abroad,” said Alves, who started his career at Bahia, who play at the Fonte Nova. “Our country is very critical and not very patient. If we all pulled in the same direction we’d go much faster.”
Peru are on a high after winning their first game, 1-0 against Paraguay on Friday.
One of the key battles will be between Peruvian striker Paulo Guerrero and his former Corinthians team mate Gil. Gil is favourite to replace the suspended David Luiz and start his first match for the national side, alongside Miranda.
The two played together at Corinthians for 18 months before Guerrero departed for Flamengo earlier this year. In their only encounter since, Gil got the better of his opponent in Corinthians’ 1-0 win in October.
Raul Ruidiaz, who has scored 12 goals in 12 games for Universitario this season, will start on the bench for Peru but could also feature at some point.
”I’ve spoken with Raul and he is in fantastic form,“ Peru coach Ricardo Gareca told reporters. “We want to see that from the Peruvian players. I could take advantage of that, it would be great.”
Writing by Andrew Downie