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Narrow win sounds alarm bells for Brazilians

A NARROW win over Egypt has put Brazil on alert at the Confederations Cup.

The five-time World Cup champion outplayed Egypt on Monday in Bloemfontein, but barely escaped with a 4-3 victory thanks to a last-minute penalty from Kaka.

The Brazilians blamed the sub-par performance on exhaustion from recent World Cup qualifiers and excessive traveling, but acknowledged they need to improve before the team's second Group B match against the United States tomorrow.

Brazil opened a 3-1 first-half lead with goals from Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Juan in front of a crowd of 27,851 fans, but defensive mistakes allowed Egypt to score two goals a minute apart early in the second half.

"There is no doubt that this match should come as a warning," midfielder Gilberto Silva said. "I don't remember Brazil allowing two goals in one minute and it's been a long time since we allowed three goals in a match. It should be a warning for all of us."

It was the first time in 57 matches that Brazil conceded three goals. The last time was four years ago in a World Cup qualifier against South American rival Argentina.

Brazil coach Dunga said the team's exhaustion in the second half led to a tactical mistake that allowed the Egyptians to come back.

"We should have played back a bit instead of trying to push forward at that time, and in the end we gave Egypt too much space," Dunga said. "But that's natural because the players were exhausted."

Brazil played in Uruguay and hosted Paraguay in qualifiers shortly before heading to South Africa for the Confederations Cup. Players complained they haven't been able to sleep well since arriving on Thursday because of the five-hour time difference between the two countries.

Brazil, winner in 1997 and 2005, is trying to become the first nation to win three Confederations Cup titles, one more than France. It is the only team to have participated in all six editions of the Confederations Cup since it was first staged in 1997.



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