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Goalkeeper Julio Cesar rescues Brazil

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar saves his side from their first-ever home defeat in a World Cup qualifier during Wednesday's match gainst rivals Uruguay.

sports Updated: Nov 22, 2007 19:59 IST
Brian Homewood
Brian Homewood

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved his side from their first-ever home defeat in a World Cup qualifier during Wednesday's match against Uruguay.

Striker Luis Fabiano scored twice as Brazil came from behind to beat their opponents 2-1 but only after the Inter Milan keeper had prevented the visitors from adding to Sebastian Abreu's eighth-minute goal.

He made excellent saves to turn away powerful shots from Ignacio Gonzalez and Maximiliano Pereira to prevent Uruguay taking a 2-0 lead as the visitors ran Brazil ragged in the first half.

After Luis Fabiano had scored twice against the run of play, Julio Cesar made another outstanding save to turn away a goal-bound Abreu header.

"I think my performance was important not just for me but for the team," the goalkeeper told reporters.

"I had some good performances at the Copa America in 2004, especially against Argentina in the final where I saved a penalty, and this was certainly one of my best."

Despite missing striker Diego Forlan through injury, Uruguay surprised Brazil by marking deep in their own half. Brazil struggled to play their way out of defence as Uruguay took control.

The warning for the other teams in the South American group was that, even being outplayed, Brazil still managed to hit back and score from two of the few real chances they created.

"When a team has so many top forwards, it's very difficult," said Uruguay captain Diego Lugano. "We knew we couldn't drop our guard and we didn't, but they still scored."

Brazil's big guns, Ronaldinho, Robinho and Kaka, failed to fire and the first two were substituted in the second half amid jeers from the fickle crowd at the Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo.

Robinho admitted he had played below his best.

"I ran a lot but my performance lacked shine," he said. "I didn't manage any of my normal moves. I have to improve a lot, the team needs to improve but the most important thing is the three points."

Apart from the 5-0 win over Ecuador, when four of the goals came in a 12-minute spell near the end, Brazil's strengths so far in the qualifiers have been at the back.

Defender Juan was the top player when they drew 1-1 in Peru on Sunday and the back four were also outstanding when they began with a goalless draw in Colombia last month.

Coach Dunga blamed a lack of team training for their disjointed efforts.

"We only have the players for three days before each game so it's difficult to leave your mark on the team," he said.

"Some coaches don't even leave their mark in one year so imagine in two days."

First Published: Nov 22, 2007 19:55 IST

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