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Brazil gets the better of Ireland

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STRIKE FORCE: Brazil's Robinho exults after scoring a brilliant goal in the second half.
STRIKE FORCE: Brazil's Robinho exults after scoring a brilliant goal in the second half.

LONDON: An own-goal by Keith Andrews and a quality second strike by Robinho gave Brazil a 2-0 victory over Ireland in a friendly match on Tuesday.

Exactly 100 days before the World Cup opener, Brazil produced an impressive second-half display after having failed to reach any heights of brilliance before half-time.

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.

Happy again

“He has shown with his effort on the pitch what he can do. You can see that he's happy again,” Dunga said of Robinho, who has returned to Brazil with Santos after spells at Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Dunga suggested that Pato and Ronaldinho, who he has repeatedly overlooked, would struggle to earn places when he announces his World Cup squad in May. “Everybody has had his chance to show what they can do,” Dunga said. “Now things have to be decided.”

Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni said he believed the game was evenly contested until the own goal.

“The 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-metre 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 before shooting 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 produced a moment of magic to score the second goal. He took a return pass off Kaka's heel, exchanged passes with Grafite before side-footing the ball inside the post from 12 meters.

The result: Brazil 2 (Andrews 44-og, Robinho 76) bt Republic of Ireland 0 . — AP

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