Thursday, 2 April 2009

City stars play in Brazil win

Manchester City's Brazilian stars Robinho and Elano both played at least seventy minutes in Brazil's comfortable 3-0 defeat of Peru on Wednesday night.

Brazil set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the three made up of Kaká on the left, Robinho through the middle and Elano on the right, albeit with much scope for interchange. They impressed swiftly, cutting through the Peruvian defence and creating chances for lone frontman Luís Fabiano. Elano probably outshone Robinho in the opening stages; a constant threat with his passing and running, linking well with his full back Dani Alves.

Neither City player was involved though in the opening goal - as Kaká was fouled in the box on eighteen minutes, and Luís Fabiano hit the penalty into the bottom corner. Robinho almost doubled Brazil's lead five minutes later, getting past his defender with a pedalada but shooting over with his left foot.

Elano was involved in Brazil's second goal on twenty seven minutes - combining with Alves down the right wing, whose cross from deep found Luís Fabiano unmarked in the box. Fabiano chested the ball down and finished well, his sixth goal of the World Cup qualifying campaign. For the remainder of the second half Brazil continued to throw men forward - the front four were always helped out by the two attacking full backs (Kléber and the unstoppable Dani Alves, comfortably the best player on the pitch) and it was only poor final ball and finishing which kept the score at 2-0 at the break.

The second half started in much the same vein: wave after wave of Brazilian attacks, but with no third goal. Elano hit a free kick into the wall on fifty one minutes. Four minutes later Robinho worked himself some space on the right but flashed his shot across the face of goal. Brazil's next good chance was created by Elano: his curled cross from the right was headed towards goal by Fabiano but tipped over the bar. When Brazil did score their third, on sixty four minutes, it was from an unlikely source: Felipe Melo won two tackles in midfield, raced up the pitch and slotted home.

On seventy minutes, Robinho came off for Alex Pato. It was a good performance from Robinho, although he may have wanted to do better given that it was a home game against poor opposition. And on seventy-six minutes, Elano came off for Ronaldinho. The last few minutes passed by largely without incident, as Brazil stuck with their three goal lead.

This win puts Brazil back in second place in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group. It was a fantastic team performance, and while Elano was very good individually, Robinho didn't quite reach the levels of influence he's capable of. Regardless, it should provide both of them with a much needed confidence boost. Which could be rendered meaningless if neither of them start on Saturday...

1 comment:

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