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2 vs 4
Played
June 23, 2013 12:30 AM IST
Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova — Salvador, Bahia
Referee:‬ R. Irmatov‎
Attendance:‬ 48874‎
 
Dante 45+1′
Neymar 55′
 
Fred 66′
 
Fred 89′
Top of the Match
Fred
Fred
Brazil
Neymar
Neymar
Brazil
Flop of the Match
Alessandro Diamanti
Alessandro Diamanti
Italy
Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon
Italy

Italy 2-4 Brazil: Fred fires Selecao to top spot in Group A

The striker put the hosts 3-1 up and then struck again in the dying seconds to secure a win that should see Felipe Scolari's men avoid Spain in the semi-finals

By Mark Doyle

Brazil players celebrate after a goal
Getty
Brazil sealed top spot in Confederations Cup Group A with an action-packed 4-2 victory over old rivals Italy in Salvador on Saturday night.

The Selecao dominated the opening 45 minutes but only made the breakthrough in injury time at the end of the half, with Dante firing home. Italy drew level in emphatic fashion through Emanuele Giaccherini just after the interval only to see Brazil quickly reassert their supremacy with equally fine strikes from Neymar and Fred.

The Azzurri, though, should have snatched a draw, with an unmarked Christian Maggio heading against the bar shortly after Giorgio Chiellini had dragged Cesare Prandelli's men back into the game, and they were punished for their profligacy by Fred, who netted his second of the game in the dying minutes.

Italy had initially picked up where they had left off against Japan: in complete disarray defensively. Indeed, Brazil twice went close to opening the scoring inside the opening three minutes, with Chiellini making desperate last-ditch challenge to stop Oscar, before Gianluigi Buffon had to get down well to keep out a low, angled strike from Hulk.

Italy did their utmost to weather the early storm and even carved out an opening for themselves 18 minutes when Claudio Marchisio drove forward down the left wing before pulling the ball back for Mario Balotelli, who badly scuffed his shot, resulting in the easiest of saves for Julio Cesar.

However, Italy were still being overrun in midfield and Cesare Prandelli unsurprisingly elected to make a first-half substitution for the second game in succession, sending Emanuele Giaccherini on in place of Riccardo Montolivo, with the dynamic Marchisio dropping back into midfield alongside Alberto Aquilani.

Sadly, the Azzurri were forced into a second change before the half-hour mark, with Ignazio Abate suffering a shoulder injury after being cynically taken out by Neymar, who, just moments beforehand, had been felled by the AC Milan full-back.

Even the crowd began to get tetchy the longer the half wore but the tension was broken just before the break, with Dante, on as a replacement for the injured David Luiz, exhibiting impressive composure in coolly slotting home the rebound, after Buffon had pulled off a terrific save to keep out a close-range header from Fred.

The second half looked set to continued in much the same vein as the first, with Brazil bossing possession and territory, and the hosts could even have doubled their advantage within a minute of the restart, but Oscar shot too tamely at Buffon, after the ball had dropped for the Chelsea ace on the edge of the area.

However, Italy then levelled out of nowhere. There appeared to be no danger when Buffon punted the ball long, but Antonio Candreva headed it on before Balotelli acrobatically flicked into space for Giaccherini. The much-maligned utility man appeared to hesitate for a second but he then unleashed a blistering drive from just inside the area that gave Julio Cesar no chance.

Order was restored almost immediately, though, with Neymar deceiving Buffon with a terrific free kick, after the Brazilian No.10 had himself been taken down on the edge of the Azzurri box.

Balotelli almost replied in kind on the hour, but his long-range set piece was fumbled away to safety by Julio Cesar. As it was, it was Brazil who struck next in an increasingly chaotic encounter, with Fred finishing in style, after his run in-between Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci was expertly picked out by Marcelo.

Italy were not done yet, though, and they set up a frantic finale when the ball dropped for Alberto Aquilani in the six-yard box, allowing him to tee up Chiellini, who scuffed the ball into the bottom left corner of the Selecao goal.

Maggio then crashed a header against the bar as Italy finished the stronger but they were caught cold on the break late on, with Fred on hand to convert after Buffon had been unable to hold onto a shot from Marcelo, meaning the Azzurri will most likely face Spain in the semis.


Italy

1
Gianluigi Buffon
Goalkeeper
2.00
3
3.00
2
3.50
19
2.50
20
Ignazio Abate
Defender
30′
2.50
87
Antonio Candreva
Midfielder
3.00
10
Alberto Aquilani
Midfielder
71′
2.50
8
Claudio Marchisio
Midfielder
40′
2.00
18
Riccardo Montolivo
Midfielder
26′
2.50
45
3.00
-
2.00

Brazil

2.00
30
Julio César
Goalkeeper
2.50
22
3.00
4
2.50
4
David Luiz
Defender
8′ 34′
3.00
12
Marcelo
Defender
66′
3.00
-
Hernanes
Midfielder
3.00
11
Oscar
Midfielder
3.00
22
Luiz Gustavo
Midfielder
44′
4.00
-
Fred
Striker
66′ 89′
3.50
11
Neymar
Striker
28′ 55′ 69′
2.50
29
Hulk
Striker
76′

Substitutes

30
 - 
22
 - 
13
 - 
15
 - 
11
3.00
16
 - 
11
Alessio Cerci
Midfielder
 - 
23
3.50
21
Andrea Pirlo
Midfielder
 - 
12
 - 
11
 - 
92
2.50

Substitutes

 - 
1
Jefferson
Goalkeeper
 - 
1
3.00
4
Dante
Defender
34′ 46′
 - 
3
Filipe Luis
Defender
 - 
4
Réver
Defender
 - 
-
Fernando
Midfielder
76′
 - 
-
Lucas
Midfielder
 - 
-
Jean
Midfielder
 - 
8
Paulinho
Midfielder
2.50
-
Bernard
Midfielder
69′
 - 
20
Jadson
Midfielder
 - 
7

Striker

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
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  • Own Goal
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  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
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  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
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  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
Group A Matchday 3
Times In IST
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Fernando Torres Fernando Torres
Striker
Chelsea
5 0
Fred Fred
Striker
Fluminense
5 0
Abel Hernández Abel Hernández
Striker
Palermo
4 1
Neymar Neymar
Striker
Barcelona
4 0
Javier Hernández Javier Hernández
Striker
Man. United
3 1