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Pharaohs give Brazil all it can handle
by Paul Kennedy, June 16th, 2009 6:45AM



[CONFEDERATIONS CUP] The knock on Dunga's Brazil has been its defense-first approach, so its display in its opening game at the Confederations Cup Monday was certainly a surprise. The defending Confederations Cup champion opened up a 3-1 lead in Bloemfontein, blew that lead early in the second half and then needed a controversial decision on the awarding of a penalty kick Kaka converted to beat Egypt, 4-3.

Unlike the USA, which moved the second of its double World Cup fixtures up a week to accommodate its Confederations Cup, Brazil stuck to its original schedule, arriving in South Africa Thursday after its 2-1 win over Paraguay the day before in Recife.

The Brazilians blamed the long travel for their play against Egypt.

"We were too tired," Kaka said. "In the end, I think that's what made the difference."

Brazil wasn't too tired to put three goals past Egypt in the first 37 minutes, the first by Kaka set up by Daniel Alves, then goals by Luis Fabiano and Juan served up by Elano.

The deciding penalty in the 90th minute was justified but the manner in which it was awarded was controversial.

Ahmed al-Muhamadi
clearly used his arm to stop Lucio's header off Daniel Alves' free kick, but it wasn't until several minutes later that a penalty kick was awarded and al-Muhamadi, who was on the ground, red carded.

"It was actually good that the player went down because it gave time for the fourth official [Matthew Breeze] to tell the referee [Howard Webb] what really happened," Lucio said. "It was only fair because the ball was going in."

Webb at first pointed toward the corner flag for a corner kick and then checked on al-Muhamadi, who appeared to be faking that he was hit in the face with the ball on Lucio's header.

Any excuses Brazil made about its performance would do Egypt an injustice.

With Mohamed Aboutrika and Mohamed Zidan, the Pharaohs had the firepower to match Brazil's and will certainly challenge Brazil and the USA in their next two games.

June 15 in Bloemfontein
Brazil 4 Egypt 3. Goals: Kaka 5, 90+1 pen, Luis Fabiano 12, Juan 37; Zidan 9, 55, Shawky 54
Brazil -- Julio Cesar, Daniel Alves, Lucio, Juan, Kleber (Andre Santos 83), Elano (Ramires 63), Gilberto Silva, Kaka, Felipe Melo, Luis Fabiano, Robinho (Pato Alexandre 63)
Egypt -- El Hadari, H.Said, A.Said, Gomaa, Fathi, Moawad, Shawky, Abd Rabou (al-Muhamadi 75), Hassan (Eid 52), Aboutrika, Zidan.
Red card: Egypt -- Ahmed Al Muhamadi 90.
Referee: Howard Webb (England.
Att.: 27,851.


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