Brazil rule over Zimbabwe
Bastos, Robinho and Elano score in 14-minute winning salvo
Last Updated: June 2, 2010 6:14pm
Robinho: On target
Three goals in 14 minutes either side of half-time saw Brazil coast to a 3-0 World Cup warm-up victory over Zimbabwe.
The five-times World Cup winners had to wait until the 42nd minute to break the deadlock when left-back Michael Bastos notched an impressive free-kick.
Manchester City misfit Robinho then doubled the advantage a minute before the break, before former Eastlands team-mate Elano sealed the victory on 56 minutes.
Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai were among a capacity crowd as Brazil faced African rivals for only the fifth time in their history.
But the South Americans - who are set to face Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea in the 'Group of Death' Group G in South Africa - stamped their authority only after surviving several goalmouth scares.
The Warriors should have taken the lead on 19 minutes when shambolic Brazilian defending presented France-based Ovidy Karuru with a glorious close-range chance he blazed over.
Zimbabwe, who have never qualified for the World Cup, were stroking the ball about with the same aplomb as their more illustrious opponents in warm, overcast weather at the 60,000-capacity National Stadium.
They came close again when livewire striker Knowledge Musona won a goalmouth aerial duel only to be denied by a diving parry from Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who had replaced Julio Cesar a few minutes earlier.
Warm-up games still carry the risk of injuries and Brazilian hearts pumped a little faster 10 minutes before half-time when star midfielder Kaka briefly clutched his right leg after a hard but fair challenge.
While left-back has been a problem position for Brazil since father-time caught up with legend Roberto Carlos, Lyon man Bastos did his claims for a permanent place no harm by opening the scoring.
A free-kick outside the penalty area and right of the near post presented the opportunity and he notched his first international goal with an unstoppable shot that flew into the roof of the net.
Zimbabwe then fell further behind as they failed to cut out a Maicon pass and Robinho brought his national team goal tally to 21 with a close-range shot.
Brazil coach Dunga, a World Cup winner in 1994 during his playing days, rang the changes during the interval, introducing defenders Dani Alves and Luisao and midfielder Julio Baptista.
For Zimbabwe, skipper Benjani Mwaruwari gave way early in the second half for Kingston Nkatha.
The South Americans were in cruise control and went three goals ahead when Dani Alves burst into the penalty area and passed to Elano, who had all the time and space in the world to stroke the ball over the line.
There will be one more African safari for the Brazilians, against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam next Monday, before they face likely Group G minnows North Korea on 15th June in Johannesburg.