Brazil powers past Ivory Coast

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

JOHANNESBURG -- Brute force and hand balls aside, Brazil has achieved its first objective at the World Cup: advancing out of Group G.

Luis Fabiano scored a pair of goals, one with the aid of touches with his arm and his hand, while Elano added another as Brazil beat Ivory Coast 3-1 Sunday to secure a spot in the second round from Group G.

In a physical match that saw Brazil star Kaka ejected with two late yellow cards, the five-time champions showed they can deal out the rough stuff with the pretty plays.

"It's true, the ball really touched my hand and then my shoulder," Luis Fabiano said of his second goal. "But it was involuntary. It was one of the greatest goals I've scored in my career."

Luis Fabiano got his first goal in six matches for the national team with a powerful right-footed shot in the 25th minute after a perfect pass by Kaka between defenders. He jumped over defender Kolo Toure before firing into the top of the net from a difficult angle.

Luis Fabiano added to the lead in the 50th with his left foot from near the penalty spot after beating two defenders inside the area -- helped by his sleight-of-hand.

Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was livid that that the second goal counted.

"It shouldn't have been allowed," Eriksson said. "They got a goal free. That's a 2-nil goal -- that changed everything.

"It's even more difficult if he's allowed to use his hands. Of course it's a hand ball. It's not once, it's twice."

Elano scored Brazil's third goal in the 62nd after another setup by Kaka. Elano hurt his right shin a little later and left the field on a stretcher.

Kaka then received his two yellow cards late in the game and will be suspended for Brazil's next match, against Portugal. Kaka got into an altercation with Kader Keita near the end of the match.

"The red card was completely unfair," Brazil coach Dunga said.

Kaka did not want to talk about the ejection, but complained of rough play by the Ivory Coast players.

"It was a tough match," he said. "It got violent in two or three plays there."

Didier Drogba, playing from the start for the first time after breaking his right arm in a warmup game, scored the lone goal for Ivory Coast with a header in the 79th.

The victory gives Brazil six points from two matches, and left the Africans with one point and in difficult position to advance from the group stage. Portugal and North Korea play Monday in Cape Town.

It was a physical match at Soccer City, with hard fouls from both sides and players confronting each other at times. Brazil had plenty of chances to scores more, but mistakes on the final pass cost it on a few occasions.

Brazil has won all six matches it played against African nations at the World Cup. The last was 3-0 over Ghana in the round of 16 of the 2006 tournament in Germany. Drogba's goal was the first Brazil conceded to African nations in soccer's biggest showcase.

"I think Brazil can go all the way," Eriksson said. "To beat Brazil you must be almost perfect."

Luis Fabiano hadn't scored in more than nine months for Brazil since connecting twice in a victory against Argentina last September in a World Cup qualifier.

Kaka, coming off a season plagued by injuries, again was far from his best, but showed his poise on Sunday by setting up Luis Fabiano's first-half goal and Elano's third in front of 84,455 fans.

Brazil made some uncharacteristic passing mistakes in the beginning and was not able to take control of the match, allowing the Ivorians to threaten on counterattacks and free kicks. Yet Ivory Coast put nearly all its players on defense when Brazil held possession, leaving Drogba alone up front. The striker is playing with a special protective cast approve by FIFA.


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