An own-goal by Keith Andrews and a quality second strike by Robinho gave Brazil a 2-0 victory over Ireland in Tuesday’s friendly.
With only 100 days to go before the start of the World Cup, Brazil produced an impressive second-half display after having failed to reach any heights of brilliance before the break.
The first goal in the final minute of the first half was a fluke, Andrews turning a cross from Robinho into his own net. But there was nothing lucky about the second, Robinho swapping passes with Kaka and Grafite before stroking the ball home in the 76th minute.
Arsenal’s 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium appeared two-thirds full, with an even split between fans of both teams. It was Brazil’s fifth game at the ground, having beaten Argentina 3-0, Sweden 1-0 and Italy 2-0 but lost 2-0 to Portugal.
Brazil, a five-time World Cup winner, started without injured striker Luis Fabiano. Robbie Keane, initially ruled out with a knee problem, lined up as Ireland’s captain and leading threat in attack.
In a stop-start first half, Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar stuck out a left hand to block a header by Kevin Doyle and Ireland ’keeper Shay Given pushed a powerfully hit 25-meter free kick by Adriano over the crossbar.
Brazil went ahead when Maicon sent the suspiciously offside Robinho down the right and his low cross was turned into his own net by Andrews.
Substitute Daniel Alves should have made it 2-0 within seconds of entering the game in the 65th, bursting past Sean St. Ledger and drawing Given off his line but he then shot wide of the unguarded net.
Soon after, Robinho had the ball in the net but was ruled offside. He then scooped the ball over the bar from Kaka’s pass as the Brazilians began to slice through the Irish defence.
Robinho, the Santos striker who left on loan from Manchester City in January, produced a moment of magic to score the second goal. He took a return pass off Kaka’s heel, exchanged passes with Grafite before stroking the ball inside the post from 12 meters.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Maicon (Carlos Eduardo, 84) Lucio (Luisao, 82), Juan, Felipe Melo, Michel Bastos, Ramires (Daniel Alves, 65), Gilberto Silva, Adriano (Grafite, 65), Kaka, Robinho (Nilmar, 77).
Ireland: Shay Given, Stephen Kelly, Kevil Kilbane, Sean St. Ledger, Paul McShane, Glenn Whelan (Darron Gibson, 57), Liam Lawrence (James McCarthy, 69), Keith Andrews, Kevin Doyle (Leon Best, 77), Robbie Keane, Damien Duff (Aiden McGeady, 57).