Monday, June 29, 2009

Confederations Cup Final Match Report: Brazil 3 - 2 USA

Brazil came back from two goals down at half time to beat The United States 3-2 in the 2009 Confederations Cup final, which was played at the Coca Cola Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday night.

The entertaining final provided a fitting end to what has been a goal-filled ‘Festival of Champions', full of thrilling action and top class play by the world’s best footballers.

As the score-line suggests, it was very much a game of two halves as the Samba Boys struggled to find their rhythm in the first stanza, during which time they were duly punished by some ruthless play on the counter attack by Bob Bradley’s side.

The second half however was one way traffic – following Luis Fabiano’s goal 40 seconds after the restart, Brazil just kept coming at the US defence, which bowed to the pressure on a further two occasions.

Brazil were off to a positive start, earning several corners in the early stages and getting a number of crosses into the box, some of which were dealt with rather unconvincingly by the United States defenders.

However, with one of the few attacks they had, it was the US who took a surprise early lead when Jonathan Spector’s hopeful looking 10th minute ball from a fair distance out on the right found its way to Clint Dempsey, who improvised superbly, getting the faintest of touches to divert the ball just beyond the reach of Brazil goal keeper Julio Cesar.

Dempsey continues his hot run - Image from Associated Press

Brazil looked to hit back through Robinho two minutes later, but Tim Howard got down well to turn his low shot out for a corner kick. A Selecao had further chances through Felipe Melo and Maicon, but again Howard came up trumps, pulling off another two good saves. The initiative appeared to be with the Samba Boys, but in the 27th minute they were caught out with a classic counter-attack - Charlie Davies played an inch-perfect pass into Landon Donovan, whose first touch intelligently saw him evading the cover defence before sweeping the ball beyond Cesar from 18-yards out with his left foot.

Donovan gets his just rewards with his goal - Image from Associated Press

Brazil finished the half the stronger side, but could never really get into good enough positions in front of goal to overly trouble Howard. When he was tested, by the likes of Andre Santos and Robinho, the Everton goalkeeper again proved to be on top of his game. Brazil did almost manage to pull a goal back just before the break when Maicon flashed the ball across goal. Fabiano was inches away from getting on the end of the cross, but it had taken a crucial touch off the foot of American defender Carlos Bocanegra.

The complexion of the game changed dramatically just 40 seconds after the restart when Fabiano received the ball with his back to goal, took one touch, swivelled, and then picked out the bottom corner of the net, giving Howard no chance. The pressure continued to mount from the team in yellow and in the 58th minute Howard had to pull off a superb save to stop Lucio heading home a corner kick. The rebound fell to Gilberto Silva, whose close range shot deflected off Spector and over the cross bar.

Two minutes later Brazil came even closer when Kaka’s back-post header was pushed off the line by Howard onto the underside of the crossbar and back into play – replays suggested that the ball may have crossed the line. There was a brief respite for the States when Dempsey’s well-struck shot forced Cesar into conceding a corner.

But Brazil were soon back on the offensive and in the 70th minute Fabiano was put through on goal and looked set to level the match, but Howard moved off his line with blistering speed to make a wonderful close range block. The pressure finally paid off for Dunga’s side in the 74th minute when Fabiano headed home from close range after Robinho had blasted Kaka’s cross into the crossbar from only six yards out.

Fabiano equalises! - Getty Images

The come-from-behind win was completed five minutes from time when Elano’s corner kick was powered home via the head of skipper Lucio, the ball hitting the inside of the upright before ending up in the back of the net.

Joy for Brazil, Heartbreak for USA - Image from Associated Press


Brazil: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Luisao, Andre Santos (Daniel Alves 67'), Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva, Ramires (Elano 67'), Kaka, Robinho, Luis Fabiano

USA: Tim Howard, Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Benny Feilhaber (Jonathan Bornstein 74'), Ricardo Clark (Connor Casey 88'), Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Charlie Davies, Jozy Altidore (Kleystan 74')

Brazil celebrates the thrilling comeback win - Image from Reuters

This report is featured at MTNFootball.

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