PRETORIA - Brazil whipped up a storm against a hapless U.S. team on Thursday, turning on the full samba style as they sauntered to a 3-0 victory with goals from Felipe Melo, Robinho and Maicon. As storm clouds moved in during the second half of the Confederations Cup Group B game, the Americans knew they had failed to weather it, finishing with 10 men after midfielder Sacha Kljestan was sent off in the 56th minute. Brazil, so lucky to beat Egypt 4-3 with a controversial late penalty in their first match, were back to their spectacular best, scoring two absolutely sublime goals. Having opened the scoring as early as the seventh minute when Felipe Melo, the midfielder who is rapidly emerging as one of the key men in the team, rose at the far post to head home a Maicon free kick, Brazil took total charge. Their second in the 20th should be shown over and again as the ultimate in breakaway perfection. DaMarcus Beasley failed to control a Landon Donovan corner in the Brazilian penalty area. The ball was pushed forward to Kaka, who turned and touched to Ramires as the Brazilians hared upfield. Ramires strode forward powerfully, drawing the lone American defender Jonathan Spector towards him, then slipped it through Spector's legs to Robinho who calmly stroked it home past helpless American keeper Tim Howard. BREATHTAKING GOAL It was a breathtaking goal, surpassed only by their third in the 62nd minute. Maicon, Ramires and Felipe Melo combined in an intricate passing movement down the right before Kaka threaded the ball back to Maicon who chipped a delicate right-foot shot over Howard from an acute angle. Like the second, it sent the Loftus Versfeld Stadium crowd into delirium. The Americans had their share of bad luck though. Kljestan was harshly judged for a relatively mild foul on Ramires, reducing his team to 10 men for the second successive game. In the final eight minutes substitutes Benny Feilhaber and Conor Casey both struck the bar as they searched for a consolation goal. Brazil head Group B with six points and will be certain to reach the semi-finals unless Egypt beat Italy later on Thursday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The United States, still without a point after losing their opening game 3-1 to Italy, face almost certain elimination.
18 June 2009
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