Hail César! Keeper magnificent as Brazil rob Ecuador of three points

March 29, 2009 at 20:41 3 comments

Júlio César saves Brazil from a thrashing

Júlio César saves Brazil from a thrashing

Brazil came close to pulling off one of the biggest heists in football thanks to a second-half goal by substitute Júlio Baptista and the brilliance of Inter Milan keeper, Júlio César.

Ecuador were all over Brazil for 99% of the game, creating a hatful of opportunities only to be thwarted by a man who on this display at least, can now be regarded as one of the finest keepers in the world.    

Though Ecuador will see it as points dropped, they at least got a deserved equalizer on the stroke of full-time when for once Júlio César’s parry fell to the opposition and Cristian Noboa fired in from close range.

Without Kaká’s impetus, looked timid, played like a less than average side and failed to create anything more than a handful of half-chances.

Brazil were second best in every department except between the sticks and the overly defensive mind set that coach Dunga had imposed on his team was not helping.

The starting line-up was also questionable with out of form players Elano, Gilberto and Ronaldinho Gaúcho.

Quito’s position so high above sea level was a factor but it’s worth noting that only three of Ecuador’s players regularly play at altitude and 18 of the squad ply their trade abroad.

Brazil arrived in the city on Friday. They are due back home early Monday morning, which is probably just as well as they’ll be in for some stick on their return to Brazil. 

The game

Ecuador went straight into the attack. But it was Brazil who created the first chance when Robinho’s cheeky backheal set up Marcelo.

Brazil Keeper Júlio César is at the peak of his form. And he had to be as he stopped the first of a barrage of powerful shots by Ayoví and co.  

On 14 minutes, Ecuador won a free-kick on the edge of Brazil’s area. The low shot from Mendez penetrated the wall and Júlio César had to make a spectacular double stop after Guerrón struck from close range.

The cover in front of Brazil’s back line was nonexistent and Ecuador were able to run towards their opponent’s goal almost at will.

Ecuador grew in confidence. And as they tend to when a team takes a game to them, Brazil began to look ragged. Sixto Vizuete’s men sensed Brazil were there for the taking and on the 21st minute hit the bar with a cracking strike from Benítez.

With the home side in complete control, it seemed only a matter of time before they’d score. And four minutes later, there was another swift move involving Ayoví and Benítez that ended in Caicedo going close.

Brazil then suffered a blow when the injured rightback Maicon was replaced by Daniel Alves.

Somehow the first-half ended with Brazil very lucky to not to have conceded.

Despite being second best in the first period, Brazil returned with the same eleven.

No surprise then that Ecuador continued where they had left off with chances falling to Caicedo and Benítez in the first five minutes.

Benítez was proving a threat and again tested the excellent Júlio César

In a rare break forward, Luís Fabiano was one-on-one with José Cevallos but blasted his shot straight at the keeper.

Moments later, Júlio César made another magnificent save from Guerrón.

With Brazil continuously under pressure, the Brazil coach made a change. But you could hear the groans from the Brazil fans when Dunga characteristically replaced Elano with Josué – another defensive midfielder.

But his final resort to the bench appeared to turn the match. Júlio Baptista came on for the ineffectual Ronaldinho Gaúcho. With his first touch, the stocky midfielder hammered the ball onto the woodwork and then saw it rebound off the back of the unfortunate José Cevallos and in to the net.

Ecuador were clearly stunned but still went at the Brazilians though with less assurance.

With three minutes to go, Luís Fabiano could have killed off the match but again fired straight at José Cevallos.

And then it came. With full-time beckoning, Mendez teased Brazil’s left flank before firing in a low cross that was turned in by Cristian Noboa as Brazil’s defence stood gawping.

1-1 was how it finished but Brazil know that they escaped a real hiding. It’s also becoming patently clear that without Kaká, Brazil struggle. If they were to somehow lose Júlio César, they would be in real trouble.

During the transmission of the game, TV Globo’s chief commentator, Galvão Bueno, said again and again that with all their tradition and all the World Cup wins, Brazil have no right to play with the mentality of a small team. For once, the Brazilian public will probably agree with him.

See the highlights here

Brazil are now in 3rd in the table. Ecuador are 7th.

Dunga’s side take on Peru in Internacional’s estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.

See the South America qualifying group table and the rest of the round 11 results here

Ecuador 1-1 Brazil

Ecuador: Cevallos, Reasco, Ivan Hurtado, Espinoza, Ayoví, Castillo, Méndez, Guerrón (Noboa), Valencia, Benítez, Caicedo (Palacios).

Coach: Sixto Vizuete.

Brazil: Julio César, Maicon (Daniel Alves), Lúcio, Luisão, Marcelo, Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo, Elano (Josué), Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Julio Baptista), Robinho, Luis Fabiano.

Coach: Dunga

Goals: Julio Baptista, 27; Noboa, 44 mins second-half

Yellow cards: Ayoví (Ecuador); Elano, Gilberto Silva, Marcelo, Daniel Alves (Brazil).

Stadium: Olímpico de Atahualpa, Quito, Ecuador

Date: 29/03/2009.

Officials: Carlos Chandía, Lorenzo Acuña, Sergio Román (all Chile).

 

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. john  |  March 30, 2009 at 10:55

    what apoor game by brasil

    Reply
  • 2. Sexton Blake  |  March 30, 2009 at 17:58

    Brazil were woeful. It was actually quite embarrasing to watch.

    I cannot for the life of me see why Brazil persist in playing two – extremely limited – defensive midfielders in Melo and Gilberto

    Reply
  • 3. jzlim11  |  April 3, 2009 at 06:16

    Sexton Blake! I think Felipe Melo is a good and solid defensive midfielder. Gilberto SIlva is definitely out. He is too slow and aging. Hope to see Hernanes can team up with Felipe Melo one day. Luckily Brazil got the best goalkeeper in the world, JULIO CESAR!!!!!!

    Reply

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The man who came up with: Messi carrying Argentina. Neymar carrying Brazil. British Airways carrying England. My name is Jon Cotterill. I am an English football commentator for TV Globo in São Paulo, Brazil. Currently we're broadcasting two live Campeonato Brasileiro or Campeonato Paulista games per week plus our magazine show, Footbrazil to 180 countries. + Eu trabalho como narrador na TV Globo em São Paulo, Brasil. Atualmente, nos transmitimos dois jogos ao vivo do Campeonato Brasileiro ou Campeonato Paulista por semana e nosso programa de futebol semanal, Footbrazil.

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