Confederations Cup - Alves late show puts Brazil in final

Eurosport - Thu, 25 Jun 21:49:00 2009

A late Daniel Alves free-kick gave Brazil a 1-0 win over a spirited South Africa side to set up a Confederations Cup final clash with the USA.

Seven minutes after coming on as an 80th-minute substitute, the Barcelona full-back (pictured) rifled an unstoppable free-kick from the edge of the penalty area that impressive keeper Itumeleng Khune was helpless to stop from nestling just inside the far post.

It was an excellent strike in a disappointing performance from Brazil, who were more than matched by a team that were a Benni McCarthy short of a good international side.

The opening 45 minutes was an evenly matched affair where the Bafana Bafana worked hard and gave Brazil little to work with.

The hosts looked on a similar level to their illustrious opponents and had the best chance of the first half when skipper Aaron Mokoena somehow headed over from close range after he arrived unmarked to meet Teko Modise's right-wing free-kick.

While they were cautious in attack and lacked the confidence to release the quick final balls needed to punish Brazil, Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar rasped a drive towards goal that was expertly tipped behind by Julio Cesar.

Brazil had chances through Ramires and Kaka that were both smartly saved by Khune, but they could not establish either their traditional attractive passing rhythm or the defend-and-counter tactic that coach Carlos Dunga recently established.

The second-half followed a similar pattern.

A low shot by Modise forced an excellent stop by Julio Cesar after it took a wicked deflection off Luizao that wrong-footed the Internazionale shot-stopper.

Just after the hour mark Robinho sent a bicycle kick just wide, the Manchester City man improvising after a Luis Fabiano cross was blocked into his path.

The next 25 minutes were very quiet in terms of chances, although both sides toiled in the face of stout defending.

Brazil seemed short on ideas and inspiration, with even Kaka and Robinho struggling to show their usual flair against a defence that was superbly marshalled by Matthew Booth.

But they got their break when, with four minutes remaining, Mokoena fouled Ramires on the edge of the box.

Alves, who came on for the poor Andre Santos, stepped up and showed his class to put the favourites in Sunday's final.

South Africa, meanwhile, face the unenviable task of a third-place play-off against European Champions Spain.
Reda Maher / Eurosport

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