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Brazil beats Italy 2-0 in London friendly

MANCHESTER City duo Robinho and Elano scored for Brazil in a classy 2-0 victory over world champion Italy, which had two goals disallowed at Emirates Stadium yesterday.

Italy's first loss under coach Marcello Lippi since 2004 denied him a world record 32nd successive match without defeat.

The English Premier League players had the shortest journeys to London for this "derby of the world," and gave the five-time World Cup winners a big head start in the first 27 minutes of the entertaining friendly.

The slick samba football beamed back home from Arsenal's stadium should placate some of Dunga's critics, who have branded his football dull after a string of disappointing results in World Cup qualifying.

"It was one of the best matches since I became manager," Dunga said through a translator. "We didn't have time to train a lot, but we talked a lot, watched videos and trained a lot on technical skills.

"This showed we have quality, but if we are a big team we have to be humble as well."

For Italy, the match provided evidence of the size of the task facing Lippi ahead of next year's World Cup.

"It's clear they played technically better than us," Lippi said through a translator. "They were very determined, very good players and that's something I didn't expect. We were a little bit intimidated and at the moment Brazil is stronger than us and their supremacy can't be debated.

"We struggled and suffered. We aren't used to losing, but we are rebuilding our team."

Italy, which won a fourth World Cup under Lippi in 2006, should have led after four minutes. Fabio Grosso found the net after latching onto Andrea Pirlo's throughball and was incorrectly adjudged to be offside by English referee Howard Webb.

Brazil went ahead after 16 minutes when Elano did what he hasn't achieved in the Premier League since August, and scored.

The attacking midfielder backheeled the ball to Robinho, who returned it to his City teammate to slot past Gianluigi Buffon.

A counterattack 11 minutes later saw captain Lucio raced forward unchallenged before sliding a pass to Ronaldinho. While a wayward pass came from the AC Milan playmaker, who had been snubbed by Dunga for the previous three matches, Andrea Pirlo froze and fumbled the clearance, allowing forward Robinho to regain possession.

Robinho, the British record signing, dribbled past three blue shirts before unleashing a low shot past Buffon, who was linked to a move to City in the January transfer window.

Italy came close again before the break, with Daniele de Rossi's weak shot palmed over by Julio Cesar, and Alberto Gilardino slicing high.

Lippi, who complained about the match coming 48 hours after Serie A action, made four changes at halftime and the Italians looked more assertive and found the net for a second time in the 65th only to be denied again by Webb.

Luca Toni appeared to take Pirlo's deep ball down with his hand before firing past Cesar.

In the last 10 minutes Cesar denied Toni with a point-blank save, and blocked Fabio Grosso's free kick.


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