Cesar limps out of Brazil win

HARARE - Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar was taken off injured in the first half of their comfortable 3-0 victory over Zimbabwe on Wednesday in a World Cup warm -up match.

He went off after 26 minutes pointing to his chest allowing Heurelho Gomes to make his fifth international appearance.

Julio Cesar had been called into action to deny a double chance for Zimbabwe captain and striker Benjani Mwaruwari and Ovidy Karuru. Soon after that he indicated his discomfort to the bench and asked to come off.

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Brazil doctor Jose Luis Runco said the Inter Milan player, rated one of the world's top goalkeepers, had been taken off as a precaution after hurting his back but would have to be examined.

Goals from Michel Bastos, his first for Brazil, Robinho and Elano gave Brazil coach Dunga something to smile about during a match played in a festive atmosphere.

"In friendlies, the result is the least important," Elano told reporters. "The important thing today was that we played well and I think the fans were satisfied with the spectacle."

"When you see so much happiness in the public, you feel fulfilled."

Zimbabwe, ranked 110th in the world, gave the World Cup favourites a useful test and came close to scoring in each half to give their fans something to cheer.

Brazil, seeking a sixth World Cup victory, took control and went ahead after 42 minutes with a stunning 20-metre free-kick from Michel Bastos after Luis Fabiano was fouled by Zimbabwe's Tinashe Nengomasha near the edge of the box.

Two minutes later Maicon played in Robinho with a stunning sweep from the outside of his right boot and the striker cleverly clipped the ball home, leaving Zimbabwe keeper Edmore Sibanda well beaten again.

Those two goals ended some determined resistance from the home side who have not qualified for the June 11 to July 11 finals in neighbouring South Africa.

The best goal of the game came after 56 minutes when Daniel Alves traded passes with Julio Baptista and then selflessly crossed for Elano to tap in.

Brazil complete their World Cup preparations against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Monday and play their first game in the tournament against North Korea in Johannesburg on June 15. They also face Ivory Coast and Portugal in Group G.

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