Adriano strike wins it for Brazil
By Steve Luckings
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Adriano scored the only goal of the game but neither he or Ronaldinho could match the display of Tim Howard in the US goal.
Ronaldinho began pulling the strings for Brazil as early as the sixth minute when he picked out Adriano's diagonal run across the box but unfortunately the Parma striker's first touch took him away from goal and despite some trickery that presented him with a second chance he dragged his right foot effort the wrong side of the post.
The Samba stars did not have to wait too long to get on the score sheet as Greg Berhalter was robbed by Adriano as he dallied on the ball in defence, Adriano advanced towards goal but saw his first effort superbly saved by Manchester United target Howard but the ball fell kindly for the sought-after striker as he tucked home at the second attempt.
Ronaldinho, another Red Devils target, then created chances for Ricardinho and Adriano ten minutes before the break but both were foiled by poor finishing.
The US had offered little up front in the first half but found themselves with a glorious chance when veteran Ernie Stewart broke forward out-pacing Lucio before centring a ball into Landon Donavon's path but the ball just would not fall kindly into his path and his effort, coupled with fantastic tracking back from Kleberson, saw the ball go harmlessly wide.
Howard then pulled off the first of a string of world class saves when he managed to somehow hold onto Adriano's bullet header from Ronaldinho's free kick from the left in mid air on 50 minutes, before having the presence of mind to hold the ball at arms length to prevent the ball going over the line as he fell.
Alex was next to show why Sir Alex Ferguson is desperate to land the shot stopper when his right-foot thunderbolt from outside the box look look destined for the bottom left-hand corner until Howard got two hands on the ball to push it past the post.
Dida then proved his quality on the hour mark when he managed to superbly hold Donavon's right-footed effort across goal from inside the penalty area by getting his huge frame down quickly to snuff out the danger, before Howard once again foiled Brazil by tipping Ronaldinho's 25-yard free kick over the bar.