After a lackluster Selecao performance, a last-gasp goal from the Fluminense striker rescued his side from a disappointing defeat against Fabio Capello's well-organized team.LONDON -- Brazil left it late to come from behind and earn a 1-1 draw against a resilient Russian side at Stamford Bridge.
Fabio Capello's men had the better start to proceedings but neither side truly tested the other in a tame first half. The Selecao saw a lot more of the ball after the break but were unable to unlock a stubborn Russian defense, until Fred's late equalizer cancelled out Viktor Fayzulin's 73rd-minute opener for the draw.
Although a World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland was postponed twice at the weekend, Russia began positively and called Julio Cesar into action after just three minutes. A thunderous free kick from Sergey Ignashevich was just about kept out of the bottom corner by the sprawling Canarinho keeper.
Momentum stayed with the eastern European side, and not long after Alexandr Kerzhakov threatened the Brazil goal but his rifled shot wide of the target.
Just three minutes later it took some last-ditch defending to keep Russia off the score sheet. Roman Shirokov failed to connect with a cross from the right and it took a fantastic block from Thiago Silva to stop Kerzhakov from slotting home at the back post.
Brazil eventually settled into the game but Neymar was unable to get a convincing effort on goal despite two chances falling his way before the half hour mark.
The tempo of the game soon dropped off as an intensely contested midfield battle limited the room within which either side could feed their attackers.
Moments before the break a brilliant move initiated by Fayzulin looked exceptionally dangerous, but after sprinting 60 yards for the return pass from Kerzhakov he saw Julio Cesar tip his effort around the post.
The Selecao enjoyed a far better start to the second half but for all their improved retention of possession they were unable to test Vladimir Gabulov before the hour mark.
Contributing to this was the compact and organized nature of the Russian defense. Red shirts swarmed upon the Brazilian players whenever they came close to entering the final third.
The Russian resilience finally paid off as the team took the lead, against the run of play, in the 73rd minute. A quick break down the left resulted in a goal mouth scramble and with the Brazilian defenders back protecting the line, Fayzulin was left unmarked to slot home after Shirokov had seen his effort blocked on the line by Fernando.
It looked as though Luiz Felipe Scolari was going to taste defeat for the second time in three games since returning to the helm as coach of Brazil, but Fred managed to slide in a late equalizer.
A brilliant reverse pass from Hulk played Marcelo in behind the defense on the left side of the area and his low pass across the face of goal was tapped home by Fred.
Despite the Fluminense striker's heroics, Scolari remains without a win in his second stint with Brazil. Capello, meanwhile, will be pleased to have extended his unbeaten run as trainer to eight games.