BOSTON, June 6 Unsung Venezuela produced two
superb first-half goals to stun Brazil 2-0 in a friendly on
Friday, their first win against the five-times world champions.
Giancarlo Maldonado struck in the fifth minute and Ronald
Vargas notched the second just before halftime to embarrass
Brazil, who had averaged more than four goals a game in winning
the previous 17 meetings between the sides.
Brazil, who struggled to beat Canada 3-2 last Saturday,
also lost a 15-match unbeaten run stretching back to their 2-0
defeat to Mexico in the Copa America just under a year ago.
Brazil strikers Alexandro Pato, Adriano and Robinho
appeared out of sorts against slick-passing opponents, who
defended well and looked dangerous going forward.
"We played badly," Brazil coach Dunga said in a touchline
television interview after the worst possible warm-up for the
World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina later this
"We conceded two goals in the first half. In the second
half, we improved, we created more chances but we couldn't
Substitute Diego said: "It was a friendly, a game we could
afford to lose."
Although not a competitive match, the win will still go
down as a landmark for Venezuela -- the only South American
team never to have played at the World Cup -- and 35-year-old
coach Cesar Farias, who has only been in charge for six months.
Venezuela's recent form and their past record against
Brazil made the game look a formality.
Farias's side have lost at home to Bolivia, been held by
Haiti and trounced 5-2 by Colombia in recent games and their
last outing produced a 1-1 draw with Honduras.
Their 17 straight defeats against Brazil have included one
by 7-0, four by 6-0 and three by 5-0 with the goal tally 78-4
in Brazil's favour.
However, the outlook changed in the fifth minute when
Vargas slipped his marker and sent a long ball forward for
Maldonado, who beat the offside trap and chipped the ball over
the advancing Doni.
Brazil's first-half efforts were restricted to a long-range
shot from Anderson and an Adriano header which went over the
Venezuela should have increased their lead in the 34th
minute but Juan Arango failed to connect properly with
Maldonado's cross and sent the ball wide from only six metres
from an unmarked position.
But they doubled their lead in the 44th minute when Vargas
collected the ball 30 metres from goal, wrong-footed Luisao
with some neat footwork and slipped the ball inside the near
Brazil enjoyed more possession in the second half and were
close to scoring when substitute Diego broke clear, saw his
first shot saved by Renny Vega and then hit the post with a
bicycle kick from the rebound.
Diego also chipped a free kick over while Adriano
backheeled the ball wide from Robinho's cross.
The mainly Brazilian crowd jeered their team and left in
droves as their team ran out of ideas.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by John