Football / World Cup USA '94: Bebeto helps 10-man Brazil dismiss US

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United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

COMING alive in the second half, matching the competitive spirit of their opponents, Brazil finally killed off America's dream of an Independence Day victory.

Bebeto's goal in the 73rd minute, almost inevitably the result of a squirming run by Romario, left the US with too much to do.

With 20 minutes played Brazil had hardly produced a serious threat and almost conceded a goal when Thomas Dooley took a pass from Tab Ramos and shot narrowly wide of the far post.

Most of Brazil's attempts at stepping up the pace petered out when they arrived at a defensive line strung out across the field and much of their play was an embarrassment.

Their only convincing raids came along the right where Jorginho was always eager to get forward especially when supported by the powerful Mauro Silva who seemed to be the only player in midfield with the confidence to run directly at the US defence.

When Brazil came out of their shell they almost took the lead when Jorginho's low centre caught the US on their heels. Marcio Santos got a foot to the ball but could only direct it across goal and Mazinho, straining to get a touch sent it into the side-netting. The US were seriously in disarray again when a centre reached Bebeto but his acrobatic volley came to nothing when the ball struck the ground and spun wide.

Spinning of a different sort enabled Romario to get clear of his markers but again there was a missing element in the play, this time the carelessness of Romario's shooting.

There was very little to encourage the idea of an easy passage for Brazil, so little cohesion in their play that you could see the US's confidence growing perceptively.

Astonishingly they outdid Brazil with a burst of neat close-quarter skills and though embarrassed by this Brazil produced their best movement so far, one that ended with Mauro Silva shooting wide.

As though Brazil did not have enough trouble they were reduced to 10 men in the 42nd minute when Leonardo was sent off for elbowing Ramos in the face after the ball had run out of play. Ramos sustained concussion but his jaw was not fractured.

Immediately afterwards Romario took the ball cleverly past Alexi Lalas and struck a fierce shot that rebounded from Meola's left- hand post.

Brazil began the second half as though some severe admonishment had been delivered in the dressing-room and almost took the lead when Romario's second attempt was hooked off the line by Dooley.

At last there was a sense of purpose about Brazil's forward play and more targets that could be seen but it was still difficult for them to fully gain the initiative.

Even the American supporters had begun to imagine a sense of equality and the goal Brazil desperately needed continued to elude them.

The US brought on Roy Wegerle in an attempt to give themselves an attacking option but their efforts in that direction were spasmodic and unimaginative. They had set their stall out defensively and it was difficult to alter the pattern but this became of paramount importance in the 73rd minute when Brazil at last took the lead. If anybody was likely to achieve something it was Romario with his squirming run and when he got through again Bebeto fastened on to the pass and sent it into the net beyond Meola's right hand.

The Barcelona attacker continued to open up the US defence and another foul on him, three minutes from time, led to the sending off of Fernando Clavijo for a second yellow- card offence.

BRAZIL (5-3-2): Taffarel (Reggiana); Jorginho (Bayern Munich), Aldair (Roma), Marcio Santos (Bordeaux), Mazinho (Palmeiras), Leonardo (Sao Paulo); Mauro Silva (Deportivo La Coruna), Dunga (VfB Stuttgart), Zinho (Palmeiras); Bebeto (Deportivo La Coruna), Romario (Barcelona).

UNITED STATES (5-4-1): Meola (United States Soccer Federation); Dooley (Bayer Leverkusen), Balboa, Lalas, Sorber, Caligiuri; Clavijo, Perez, Jones (all USSF); Stewart (Willem II Tilburg).

Referee: J Quiniou (France).