Ankle injury forces Neymar out of Brazil’s friendly match

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Brazil striker Neymar left Wednesday night’s friendly match against Qatar in tears after twisting his right ankle during a hard tackle in the first minutes of the match.

The game was a part of the team’s preparations for Copa America, which begins on June 14.

Neymar left the Mane Garrincha stadium using crutches before the match ended. He was accompanied by his father and Brazil’s soccer confederation head Edu Gaspar, who said they were headed to a local hospital for further examinations.

The striker felt the injury shortly after Richarlison scored Brazil’s first goal at 22 minutes. He was replaced by Everton.

TV images showed Neymar in tears as doctors examined his ankle on Brazil’s bench. He was helped by the medics as he went to the dressing room.

Gabriel Jesus added a second to give Brazil a 2-0 victory.

Neymar recently recovered from a right foot injury, which also affected his World Cup performance in Russia. Brazil’s soccer confederation says its doctor determined that Neymar twisted an ankle.

The friendly marks the first major public appearance for Neymar since a woman accused him of rape Friday at a Paris hotel on May 15. Several signs in support of the player appeared among fans on the same day his accuser reaffirmed her claims in a TV interview.

Neymar has denied any wrongdoing.

The striker also felt pains in his right ankle after a challenge from teammate Miranda during Brazil’s training session outside Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

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