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Brazil scores late penalty for 4-3 win over Egypt

KAKA scored a last-minute penalty yesterday to give Brazil a fortunate 4-3 win over Egypt in its opening game of the Confederations Cup.

Brazil and its shaky defense had looked to be heading for a disappointing draw after Mohamed Shawky and Mohamed Zidan scored a goal each during one second-half minute, but Ahmed Al Muhamadi was sent off for using his arm to block a shot on the line and Kaka smashed in the penalty for his second goal of the match.

Brazil will now almost certainly qualify for the second round of a tournament it has won on two occasions, but the team will want an improved result and performance against the United States on Thursday.

"There was no lack of effort. We tried hard from the beginning," Brazil striker Robinho said. "But we made too many mistakes, especially on the passes.

"I think we ended getting tired, too, and that made a difference."

But the win still gave the record five-time World Cup winners three points in Group B, which also includes Italy.

Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Juan had given Brazil a 3-1 halftime lead, but Egypt drew level through Shawky and Zidan, who scored Egypt's first goal early on.

Brazil coach Dunga blamed the poor performance on fatigue after his team played two World Cup qualifying games just before traveling several thousand kilometers (miles) to South Africa.

"Our team is really, really, very tired," Dunga said. "With our technical quality we were able to overcome it."

Brazil largely coasted against an opponent 35 places below it in FIFA's world rankings, with the only difference in the first half coming from three moments of individual inspiration.

The first came from Kaka on the edge of the area when the new Real Madrid playmaker stuck out a leg to collect a cross-field pass from Daniel Alves and instantly lifted it over defender Hani Said.

He looked to have flicked it too far but Said and Wael Gomaa failed to clear the loose ball and Kaka reacted quickest to calmly place a low shot past goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.

Zidan equalized for Egypt but striker Luis Fabiano restored Brazil's lead when he deftly headed Elano's 12th-minute free kick to help it from just inside the area.

Brazil's third standout moment was the dipping, swerving free kick by Daniel Alves that El Hadary punched out for a corner kick. Elano sent the corner over from the right for Juan to head in.

"We all know that it wasn't a very good match for us, with no doubt, but I think that we played better overall," Brazil captain Lucio said.

But until Al Muhamadi blocked Lucio's goal-bound effort with his upper arm, Egypt looked to have done enough to avoid a fifth loss from five games against Brazil.

"We deserved a point today," Zidan said. "It's a big shame that we gave the game away in the last two minutes in a penalty."

Egypt coach Hassan Shehata, who is under pressure after poor results in World Cup qualifying, made a crucial intervention in the 51st when he withdrew veteran captain Ahmed Hassan and replaced him with Ahmed Eid.

Three minutes later, Shawky rounded off a swift attack with a shot between two diving defenders. Almost immediately after the restart, Mohamed Aboutrika, who was at the heart of most of Egypt's best work, slipped the ball to Zidan and the sprinting striker shot past Julio Cesar.

"The first half was not as we expected," Zidan said. "But in the second we managed to stand together."

Egypt now needs more of the same against World Cup holder Italy on Thursday or it could be out of the tournament.


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