Brazil hit back to beat USA
Lucio heads home winner after States let lead slip
Last Updated: June 28, 2009 9:50pm
Lucio: Celebrates winner
Brazil produced a stunning second-half comeback to beat USA 3-2 in the final of the Confederations Cup in South Africa.
Having knocked out Spain in the semi-finals, USA appeared set to cause another shock after taking a 2-0 lead into the half-time interval.
Luis Fabiano struck early in the second period before the striker equalised on 74 minutes and captain Lucio headed a dramatic winner six minutes from time.
Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey provided USA with a dream start as he helped Jonathan Spector's cross into the net after just 10 minutes.
And it got better for USA on 27 minutes after Landon Donovan drilled home a low shot following a quick counter-attack from the edge of their own box.
Brazil got back into the game within the opening 60 seconds of the second half when Fabiano turned sharply on the edge of the area before firing a shot beyond Tim Howard.
Howard had a lucky escape on the hour mark when the ball appeared to be over the line from Kaka's header before the Everton keeper was able to push the attempt away.
The reprieve lasted until 16 minutes from time when Fabiano pounced on the loose ball to nod home from close range after Robinho's close-range effort came back off the bar.
With just six minutes left on the clock, Brazil claimed the trophy when Lucio rose powerfully at the far post to head Elano's corner beyond a helpless Howard.
Before kick-off Fifa honoured Marc-Vivien Foe, the Cameroon midfielder, who collapsed with a heart problem during the 2003 finals in France, with his son Marc Scott delivering a message in memory of his late father.
On the field, Dempsey had an early 20-yard shot fired wide, while Kaka's glanced header from a Robinho corner and Andre Santos' ambitious long-range drive followed the same path.
But the Brazilians were stunned in the 10th minute when Spector delivered a fine cross from the right that was turned home by Dempsey from the centre of the penalty area - the Fulham forward's first-time touch leaving both Gilberto Silva and Lucio as onlookers as the ball was guided past Julio Cesar.
The South Americans tried to hit back with Kaka turning neatly in midfield and laying a beautiful pass on for Robinho, whose curled shot from the left was goal-bound until Tim Howard intervened to turn it wide for a corner.
Bob Bradley's men again had their goalkeeper to thank seconds later after he blocked shots from Felipe Melo and Maicon, although both were struck straight at him.
And they were dealt another massive blow in the 27th following with a sweeping counter-attack that was started and finished by Donovan.
The Los Angeles Galaxy frontman picked the ball up on the halfway line and then spread it wide to Charlie Davies on the left, before collecting the return pass just outside the box, easing his way past Ramires and blasting a fine left-footed finish beyond Julio Cesar.
The shell-shocked defending champions again tried to rebuild, with Andre Santos shooting straight at Howard, followed by Luis Fabiano heading over a corner.
The Everton goalkeeper again denied Robinho five minutes before the break when he tipped over from the Manchester City striker as Brazil went into the break frustrated and out of ideas.
But Dunga's half-time talk helped his players up the ante as they struck back in the 46th minute with Maicon finding Luis Fabiano just inside the box, and the Sevilla striker turned nicely, before firing low beyond Howard.
The American shot-stopper continued to be kept busy with skipper Lucio forcing him to block from a close-range header.
Kaka's header then looked to have crossed the line - the Real Madrid playmaker nodded the ball goalward, with Howard punching it away off the crossbar, but replays showed it went in.
Donovan and Dempsey finally helped their side hit the target in the second half with their first attack coming just after the hour mark, but on both occasions Julio Cesar was there to punch the ball away.
But the pressure proved too much at the other end and, after seeing Howard steal the ball from his feet, Luis Fabiano was on hand to convert a Kaka cross which skimmed across the face of the goal from the left - Robinho's initial shot hitting the crossbar and falling into the path of his strike partner.
The equaliser came after 74 minutes and, shortly after Robinho powered agonisingly over from 20 yards out, Lucio met Elano's corner with a thundering header that flew into Howard's top right-hand corner to complete a thrilling comeback.
Confederations Cup Group A
Confederations Cup Group B
|2||United States of America||3||3|