Football: Sloppy Socceroos punished by Brazil

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BRAZIL'S OLYMPIC team beat Australia 2-0 in an international friendly in Sydney yesterday.

The Brazilian team were without Ronaldo, who left Australia without kicking a ball after a disagreement between his national team and his Italian club Internazionale. Still, Brazil capitalised on lapses in concentration by the Socceroos to take the opening game of their two-match series.

Both Brazil's goals came in the first half. An unmarked Alvaro scored the first in the 32nd minute, putting a header past the Australia captain and Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich. Seven minutes later a similar defensive lapse allowed the midfielder Alex to convert a Denilson cross.

Ronaldo left Sydney on Friday after Fifa, the world governing body, supported Inter's decision to ban him from playing the second match of the series, in Melbourne next Wednesday.

Inter said he had already played six of the seven internationals for which they are obliged to release him in a year and therefore could play only one more. Brazil's coach Wanderley Luxemburgo had said he wanted Ronaldo to play in both games for Brazil's Under-23 side or none.

A crowd of 50,325 was in attendance after promoters decided to open both the Sydney and Melbourne matches to the public without charge following the withdrawal of Ronaldo and the injured Leeds United winger Harry Kewell, who had both featured in pre-match advertising.

Brazil's first team, meanwhile, were held to a 0-0 draw in an uneventful game in Spain.