No Neymar, no problem – at least on the pitch. This might be a time for new stars in Brazil shirts and few have better claim to that position than Richarlison.
Milton Keynes on a cold Tuesday night is no place for Samba skills and the Everton man decided this tie with something straight out of MK Dons' League Two playbook, rising highest at a corner to head home.
His impact in Neymar's wake spoke for a year that has seen him become a regular for the national side and be compared with the original Ronaldo. But his simple goal may not have made up for those who attended hoping to watch the £198million man show off.
Ederson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Pablo, Alex Sandro; Allan, Arthur, Paulinho (Walace 69); Willian (D Costa 68), Firmino (Gabriel Jesus 46), Neymar (Richarlison 8)
Onana (Ondoa 46); Fuchs, Kana-Biyik, Banana, Bong; Mandjeck, Kunde Malong (Olinga 76), Djoum; Choupo-Moting (N'Jie 65); Bakoken (Bassogog 68), Ekambi (Zoua 90)
Michael Oliver (Eng)
Maybe the bitter weather was all just a bit too brutal for Neymar. Some of the Brazilian press pack, even bundled up, decided to stay indoors to watch the game.
It felt about as far from the Maracana as it is possible to be. Those flying over from domestic clubs for the game had traded sun for slight showers and near freezing temperatures.
As if to add to the strangeness of the occasion, Brazil were not even wearing their famous yellow strips.
Then Neymar went down injured and the life was temporarily sucked out of this ground. He had walked over to the touchline in the fourth minute to speak to the physios.
The Paris-Saint Germain man then returned to the pitch, took three touches of the ball – beating two men – and whipped a shot towards the top corner before going down again.
Richarlison, a £40m man himself, came on in his place. It felt like little trade-off for the fans who had gathered pitch-side pre-match for photos with the and cheered his name loudest when the Brazil line-up was being announced ahead of kick-off.
Given the record football attendance at the Stadium:MK of 29,669, the fact Brazil can command as much as £2.5million to visit stadiums on their 'Global Tour', and the brief flashes from Neymar that promised an entertaining display, it was a genuine shame to see their star man depart so early.
Without Neymar, the name Brazil does not have the cultural cache it once did.
Not that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will mind. Neymar's injury, which seemed to be to his upper thigh, could see him out for Paris Saint-Germain in their crucial Champions League group stage clash against the Reds next Wednesday.
Neymar's exit briefly took the edge off this game. Roberto Firmino missed a chance to put Brazil ahead in the 20th minute when he slammed a shot from close range into Senegal stopper Andre Onana.
And then Onana was equal to his flicked header just before the break.
But from the subsequent corner, Richarlison leapt at the near post and slammed a header past Onana to put the team in blue ahead.
Brazil came close to doubling their lead at the start of the second-half after substitute goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa came rushing out of his goal and missed a clearance. Gabriel Jesus could only hit the post from a tight angle.
Danilo was next to have a pop, although he dragged his left footed shot just wide of the upright.
Still, it felt like this game was missing a genuine star, as impressive as Richarlison had been. By the end, the crowd took to providing their own entertainment through a Mexican wave and then waving phone torches in the air. Ondoa did make up for his earlier error with a spectacular double save towards the end.
But sadly for those hoping for more goals and thrills, they were not to come. Hope of anything resembling the image of Brazil had really left the minute Neymar did.