Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Daniel Alves and Pato On Target Again as Brazil See Off Ukraine

Brazil cruised to a 2-0 win over the Ukraine at Derby's Pride Park (!) on Monday night, to hand Mano Menezes his third straight win as national team coach. Although the performance again failed to hit the heights of the victory over the USA, there were plenty of positive signs, not least the continuing form showed by relative veterans Alexandre Pato and Daniel Alves.

Ramires finds a way past Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.

It was the latter who put Brazil ahead, opportunistically latching on to Robinho's cross to arrow a shot in off the far post. The goal was one of the few moments of excitement in a sleepy first half, as Brazil, with Elias making his first start alongside Lucas and Ramires in the centre of midfield, struggled to find their rhythm. The second period was little better; the Ukraine threatened Victor's goal on more than one occassion, and would have been disappointed not to have drawn level. As it was, however, Brazil nicked a scarcely deserved second. Carlos Eduardo, subdued for most of the tie, found some space down the right, and crossed for Pato. The Milan striker, with his back to goal, still had plenty to do, but brilliantly spun his marker to poke home. Three goals in three games now for a man deemed surplus to requirements at the World Cup.

As the final whistle blew, a collective yawn echoed out among the meagre crowd of 13,000. This was hardly a vintage Brazil performance, but it would take the most churlish of fans to complain at this point. The general trend since Dunga fell on his sword has undoubtedly been upward; Menezes has quickly set about restoring the magic and mystique so essential to the country's footballing wellbeing.

(Photo credit; Paul Ellis)

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