Joyless Brazil chalk up another friendly win

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014

VIENNA (Reuters) - Brazil chalked up their sixth straight win, all in friendlies, since the World Cup when they beat Austria 2-1 on Tuesday in a joyless performance marred by tactical fouls and a negative approach.

A stunning late strike by Roberto Firmino, his first for his country, won the match for Brazil, although Austria were the more enterprising team and could easily have gone in with a halftime lead.

Austria, previously unbeaten this year, at least had the consolation of being the first team to score against Brazil since Dunga replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari as coach following their woeful World Cup performance in July.

Aleksandar Dragovic converted a penalty in the 75th minute, ending Brazil's run of five successive clean sheets, to cancel out David Luiz's header just after the hour.

Brazil were low on creativity, often struggling to play the ball out of their own half in the face of the home team's aggressive pressing, and repeatedly interrupted Austrian moves with rough and cynical fouls in midfield.

Fernandinho escaped a booking when he left Veli Kavlak with blood streaming from a cut near his eye when he went in for one challenge with his elbows flying.

"I ask the referee if he left his yellow cards at home," Austria coach Marcel Koller told reporters. "I was surprised that he allowed them to commit so many fouls without booking them."

Brazil had a lucky escape when Marko Arnautovic's low ball across the penalty area bounced off Filipe Luis's knee to safety, followed by another when Florian Klein's shot deflected off a defender's knee and flew over.

Diego Alves also had to parry a corner out from under his crossbar as Austria pushed forward.

Brazil had to wait for over half an hour for their first real shot when Oscar tested Robert Almer with a low effort from 25 metres and a David Luiz free kick flew over the crossbar shortly afterwards.

Brazil broke through in the 64th minute when David Luiz headed in from a corner although he seemed to tug his marker's shirt as he got to the ball.

Austria did not give up and Arnautovic had a shot deflected over the crossbar before Oscar tripped Andreas Weimann and Dragovic sent Diego Alves the wrong way.

A moment of individual inspiration settled the game when Firmino unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner with seven minutes left.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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