Sunday, 29 March 2009

Elano and Robinho play in 1-1 draw

City's Elano and Robinho played in Brazil's fortuitous 1-1 draw away to Ecuador. They both started behind Luís Fabiano in Brazil's 4-2-3-1 (Ronaldinho was the other attacking player), anchored by holding midfielders Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo (with whom City were recently linked).

But Ecuador were much the better side throughout the first half, pressing Brazil and denying them any time on the ball. Elano and Robinho saw very little of the play; the most active City player on the pitch was Felipe Caicedo, who led the line for Ecuador with good help from the very able Christian Benítez. Big Phil could even have scored one or two in the first half, putting a header and a low shot narrowly wide. The frustration got to Elano, as it often does, and he was booked late in the first half.

The second half was similar: Ecuador were again the better side, and Elano was replaced by Josué to firm up the Brazilian midfield after 61 minutes. But it was another Brazilian substitution which turned the game: with nineteen minutes remaining Ronaldinho was taken off for Júlio Baptista. With Baptista's first touch he laid the ball wide to Robinho and continued his run. Robinho returned the ball to Baptista, whose shot cannoned off the post, onto the back of Ecuador keeper José Cevallos and into the net. 0-1 Brazil, 'smash and grab' doesn't quite cover it.

But Ecuador continued to press; Caicedo went close once or twice but could never quite get on the end of balls into the box. He was substituted on 92 minutes, but not before Ecuador scored their much deserved equaliser. In the last minute of normal time, the impressive Benítez shot from close range and Júlio César (without doubt Brazil's best player) could only palm the ball into the path of Christian Noboa, who scored from three yards out. 1-1 wasn't exactly fair, but at least Ecuador got a point.

Maybe Dunga now knows what Hughes has done for a while: that building a team around Elano and Robinho is fantastic for home games, but when you go away to a physical side - it's not always so good.


Gary Nolan said...

Elano and Robinho did sod all, in Robinho's case there was nobody providing him with anything, so he gets off the hook a little more than Elano does.

Caicedo played well, and like you said should of had a goal, all the same for such a young man - something we forget about him - he played well.

DarthGonzo said...

The pundit last night even said at one point "I think Dunga may have more sympathy for Mark Hughes now, because this lineup wth Robinho and Elano cannot play both home and away in a league format, especially against physical sides."

I hope our owners get such reports. Lets give Bayern Rob and a skipload of cash for Ribery. Unlikely, but that is a Hughes player.

Also thought Cac played well, we should definitely keep him another year. He has great technique, and holds the ball very well under pressure. He reminds me of Paolo Porkchop that way, you think he's been tackled but he comes away with the ball. Lets hope he is a bit more consistent than Porkchop though!