SANTIAGO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Brazil gave beleaguered coach Dunga some much-needed respite by making light of a Ronaldinho penalty miss to beat Chile 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Luis Fabiano notched two goals for Brazil, who had not scored in their previous three games, and Robinho was also on target while Ronaldinho’s spot-kick was superbly saved by the hosts’ goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Brazil defender Kleber and Chile midfielder Jorge Valdivia, playing only his second international since completing a 10-match ban for indiscipline, were sent off in the second half of a rough but pulsating match.
Brazil moved from sixth up to second in the 10-team South American group with 12 points from seven games, ahead of Argentina on goal difference and two points behind Paraguay.
Chile, who have lost their last five matches to Brazil and shipped 21 goals in the process, are sixth with 10 points.
The top four teams qualify directly for South Africa and the fifth plays off against the fourth team from the CONCACAF region.
Dunga went into the game under huge pressure after a run of poor results, worsened by the failure of the Olympic team, which he also coached, to win a gold medal in Beijing.
Brazilian media said before the game that anything but a win would end Dunga’s two-year spell in charge.
Chile created as many chances as the visitors but Brazil’s physical strength and finishing power made the difference.
“We took our chances and we deserved to win,” said Robinho.
Robinho was close in the ninth minute when he skipped past two defenders and saw his shot saved by Bravo while Humberto Suazo missed a sitter for Chile, firing over the crossbar from six metres following a corner.
Brazil went ahead in the 21st minute when Luis Fabiano got his head to a Ronaldinho free kick for their first goal in 318 minutes’ play, the last having come in a friendly against Canada in June.
Suazo was twice close to equalising before Brazil won a penalty when Diego was kicked by Marco Estrada.
But Ronaldinho, playing his first full international since last November, was thwarted when Bravo dived to his right and pushed the ball around the post.
Maicon had a header cleared off the line from the resulting corner but Brazil increased their lead on the stroke of halftime when Luis Fabiano won the ball in the air and found Robinho, who scored from the edge of the area.
Kleber was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 47th minute and Valdivia followed in the 62nd for a dangerous challenge on Luis Fabiano.
Chile pressed forward and had a penalty appeal turned down but Brazil always looked like adding to their total on the break.
The inevitable happened in the 83rd minute when, following a centre from the right, Luis Fabiano overpowered Gary Medel to score with a shot which went through Bravo’s legs.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Buenos Aires; Editing by Ed Osmond