BRAZIL 2-0 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
International friendly, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, March 2, 2010. 8.05pm
Brazil scorers: Andrews (og) 44, Robinho 76
By Nick Teale
Two contrasting goals saw Brazil defeat the Republic of Ireland in a prestige friendly at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
The first was an own goal conceded by Keith Andrews but the second was made of the elegance the world is used to from Brazil and Robinho finished it in style.
Brazil coach Dunga chose to begin with Daniel Alves on the bench but Adriano, Kaka and Robinho all started for the five-times World Champions.
Former Gunner Gilberto Silva was also in the Brazilian starting XI but Julio Baptista appeared only as an unused substitute.
Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane made history by becoming the first men to reach 103 appearances for the Republic of Ireland while captain Robbie Keane lined-up in attack after being passed fit following knee trouble earlier in the week.
The game was also a poignant one for Liam Brady. Arsenal's Head of Youth Development will step down as the Irish assistant manager after the match.
Ireland started the livelier of the two sides and after four minutes Keane raced into the area on the right but drilled his low shot from a tight angle, allowing Julio Cesar a comfortable save.
Kaka tried his luck for Brazil from distance less than 60 seconds after he had been thwarted in the box by Paul McShane's tackle. But his effort flew over the bar.
Kevin Doyle came close to opening the scoring in the 16th minute but his header from Duff's cross produced a fine reflex save from Cesar.
Four minutes later Brazil created their first meaningful chance of the game. Robinho was set free by a through ball and he found Adriano. However, Sean St Ledger blocked the Flemengo striker's shot inside the area.
Shay Given's first major call into action came in the 26th minute. Brazil were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out and Adriano's fearsome effort had to be pushed over by the Manchester City goalkeeper.
Ten minutes later Brazil were awarded a free-kick in a similar position after Keith Andrews fouled Kaka. Michel Bastos took this one but blasted it high above the goal.
Then, one minute before the break, Brazil took the lead.
Maicon found Robinho on the right byline and the Manchester City striker, on-loan at Santos, delivered a low cross into the box. Given looked to have it covered but Andrews slid in to try and divert the cross wide. However, the Blackburn midfielder only managed to turn the ball into his own net.
Ireland made their first changes 12 minutes into the second half. Darron Gibson and Aiden McGeady were introduced in place of Glenn Whelan and Damien Duff.
Moments later Bastos smashed a shot high into the stands from the edge of the area after Robinho had cut in from the right. Brazil then made their first chances, introducing Grafite and Barcelona's Daniel Alves, who almost made an instant impression.
Collecting the ball on the edge of the area, he took the ball beyond Given but passed his shot into the side netting.
In the 68th minute Robinho thought he had doubled Brazil's advantage after an error by McShane. Fortunately for Ireland, the linesman's flag had raised to signal offside.
And fortunate was again the word to describe Ireland just two minutes later.
Kaka collected the ball from a casual Andrews on the right and got to the byline to square for Robinho. However, the 26-year-old fired over from close range.
But Robinho wasn't left to rue what could have been. He completed a piece of Brazilian magic to seal the win with 14 minutes remaining.
Kaka began the move before Robinho played a one-two with Grafite. On collecting the return ball the on-loan Santos star slotted into the bottom corner from 18 yards. It was the sort of move both Brazil and regular visitors to Emirates Stadium are used to seeing.
And it was to be Robinho's last involvement. He made way for Nilmar as soon as celebrations were complete.
Brazil finished the game with a handful of half chances but against a Republic of Ireland team who so nearly made it to the World Cup themselves, also proved with moments of brilliance that they will be extremely difficult to defeat in South Africa this summer.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Maicon (Carlos Ed'ardo, 84), Lucio (c) (Luisao, 82), Juan, Felipe Melo, Michel Bastos, Ramires (Daniel Alves, 63), Gilberto Silva, Adriano (Grafite, 63), Kaka, Robinho (Nilmar, 77)
Subs: Doni, Daniel Alves, Luisao, Thiago Silva, Gilberto, Josue, Julio Baptista, Kleberson, Grafite, Nilmar
Republic of Ireland: Shay Given, Stephen Kelly, Kevin Kilbane, Sean St. Ledger, Paul McShane, Glenn Whelan (Darron Gibson, 57) , Liam Lawrence (James McCarthy, 69), Keith Andrews, Kevin Doyle (Leon Best, 77), Robbie Keane (c), Damien Duff (Aiden McGeady, 57)
Subs: Keiren Westwood, Leon Best, Kevin Foley, Marc Wilson, Darron Gibson, Anthony Stokes, Greg Cunningham, Shane Long, Aiden McGeady, Brian Murphy
Referee: Mike Dean