Brazil through to Confeds Cup finals

Friday, June 26, 2009

Johannesburg - A late goal by Brazilian substitute Daniel Alves on Thursday night sent Brazil into the FIFA Confederations Cup finals and upset Bafana Bafana's bid for the cup.

The five-time world champions managed to score a goal in the last four minutes to secure their place in the final against the Americans at Ellis Park on Sunday.

Bafana Bafana's confidence from the start of the match clearly showed that they were determined to play against the Americans in the final of the eight nation tournament.

The singing of Shosholoza and the blowing of the vuvuzela's by the 48 000 fans in the freezing cold kept Bafana Bafana's fighting spirit high.

The combination of sensational midfielder Steven Pienaar and Siphiwe Tshabalala did not only see Bafana Bafana frustrating the solid and experienced Brazilian defenders, but it also created numerous goal scoring opportunities.

While Teko Modise was not on form, defence midfielder, Benson Mhlongo was not only bringing the ball up to the midfield to the attackers, but he also stopped Brazil's superstar Kaka from making his brilliant passes to his team mates, Robinho and Fabiano.

Mathew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa and Tsepo Masilela at the back defended superbly, while Itumeleng Khune continued to showcase his good goalkeeping skills by making brilliant saves.

On the 12th minute, Khune positioned himself to stop Ramires who was looking for an opening goal for his team.

As a result, Bafana hit back a minute later when Gaxa rounded Brazil left back to Andre Santos and unleashed a rocket that just missed the target.

The national team's captain, Aaron Mokoena headed a Modise free kick fractionally wide of the crossbar on the 21st minute.

Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar had to fist away a well taken Tshabalala free kick from 23 metres in the 34th minute.

Throughout the first half, Bafana Bafana played well and their fans who were impressed by their performance gave them a standing ovation when the referee blew his whistle at half-time.

During the second half, the Brazilian strikers, Kaka, Robinho, Fabiano, right back, Maicon and midfielder Ramires were still in disarray.

Brazilian Coach Dunga's strategy to substitute Andre Santos by Daniel Alves was a clever move.

Bafana's skipper, Mokoena committed a dangerous tackle at the edge of the box in the 87th minute. The Barcelona defender, Alves beat Bafana goal keeper, Khune with his rocket free-kick to give his side a 1-nil hard fought victory.

The two teams made it into the last four in wildly contrasting ways with Brazil progressing to the semifinals as Group B leaders with maximum points, while South Africa edging through on goal difference as Group A runners-up.

Bafana Bafana will fight for the 3rd and 4th position against Spain on Sunday at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium at 3pm, while Brazil will take on the United States of America at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg at 8:30pm.