'Gabigol' off the mark | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 31, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:54 PM, May 31, 2016

'Gabigol' off the mark

Rising teenage star Gabriel scored on his international debut as Brazil warmed up for the Copa America Centenario on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Panama.

Gabriel -- affectionately known as "Gabigol" -- underscored his precocious talent by calmly finishing Brazil's second goal on 73 minutes soon after replacing veteran striker Jonas as a second-half substitute.

Santos forward Gabriel, 19, is regarded as the natural heir to Neymar.

The teenager, who has scored 19 goals in 74 appearances for Santos since 2013, had been called up to Brazil's senior squad in March but was an unused substitute.

However he wasted no time in making his mark after being introduced by manager Dunga for his first senior appearance at Denver' Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Sunday.

The teenager pounced on a loose ball in the area, took one touch to control and then drilled a low finish past Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo -- before racing to the Brazil dugout to hug manager Dunga. 

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