Gabriel Jesus

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

Neymar, Brazil score early and often, advance to gold medal match in Rio

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Braces from Neymar and Gabriel Jesus led Brazil to a Olympic semifinal demolition of Honduras at the Maracana Stadium in Rio on Wednesday.

Marquinhos, and Luan also scored for Brazil in a 6-0 win.

Brazil will face the winner of Germany and Nigeria’s afternoon match in the final on Saturday.

WATCH: Neymar’s goalMatch replay

The first :15 seconds of Wednesday’s men’s soccer semifinal between Brazil and Honduras had a little bit of everything.

First, a horrible giveaway from Honduras. Then, a goal from home country superstar Neymar.

Finally, that same superstar on the field with an apparently chest injury. Twice. He was stretchered off, only to return (though this was not the sort of faux injury that fuels the vitriol of soccer haters).

Neymar picked the pocket of a defender before seeing a loose ball bound off Honduran keeper, off him, and then into the goal.

But he clutched his chest on the turf during the celebration, then ran a few steps before dropping to the turf again. After being stretchered off, the Barcelona star returned to the game.

Gabriel Jesus scored in the 26th minute to boost Brazil’s lead to 2-0, and added another before halftime.

All the breaks well Brazil’s way, as missed Honduras’ clearance was accidentally trapped by Marquinhos outside the six. The PSG man easily tapped home to make it 4-0.

Felipe Anderson found Luan for a cross-six goal in the 79th minute for Brazil’s fifth goal.

A cynical takedown of Luan in the box in the 90th minute provided for the final penalty, converted by Neymar. He feigned a free throw in celebration, and the match was over.

WATCH LIVE: Neymar, loaded hosts Brazil open Olympics versus South Africa

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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Neymar gets his first chance to influence a major international tournament this summer when hosts Brazil face-off with South Africa at what’s sure to be an electric Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília on Thursday.

The 3 p.m. EDT kickoff sees the Barcelona star and his tournament favorite side open play in its group, three hours after Iraq and Denmark got Group A started.

WATCH: Brazil vs. South Africa at NBCOlympics.com

In addition to Neymar, there’s his Barca teammate Rafinha and Lazio standout Felipe Anderson. The side will be buoyed in the back by Paris Saint-Germain mainstay Marquinhos, and new Manchester City man Gabriel Jesus joins “Gabigol” of Santos as a dangerous young combination in attack.

26-times capped 26-year-old Eric Mathoho and 75-times capped goalekeeper Itumeleng Khune lead a South African unit that will need to pull off a major shock to get a point against the hosts.

In addition to streaming onNBCOlympics.com, the match will also be available on the NBC Sports app.