Brazil crown fitting finale
The final day of the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 produced ten goals and two comebacks, as Brazil and Spain turned the tables on USA and South Africa respectively. When matchwinner Lucio lifted the trophy, he also created history for Dunga, who became the first person to win the tournament as a player and a coach.
An action-packed competition got the final it deserved at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, with Brazil and USA serving up a five-goal thriller which ended in the Seleção's favour courtesy of Lucio's 84th-minute header. Yet it was the American underdogs who had looked the most likely to take the honours at the interval, having raced into a two-goal lead thanks to Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. However, the five-time FIFA World Cup™-winners grabbed a vital lifeline just moments into the second period through adidas Golden Shoe winner Luis Fabiano, who subsequently took his tally to five goals in five games with the 74th minute equaliser which set up his skipper's grandstand finish.
In the play-off for third place, any fans leaving Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Stadium early will be kicking themselves after a match which failed to ignite until South Africa stung Spain into action through Katlego Mphela's 73rd minute opener. With Bafana Bafana all but ready to occupy the final place on the podium, two goals in a minute from La Roja's Daniel Guiza spun the scoreline on its head, only for Mphela to level matters in the third minute of added time. Clear chances came and went for the hosts in the first period of extra-time before Xabi Alonso's 107th minute free-kick eluded everybody before nestling in the back of the net to clinch third spot for La Selección here at South Africa 2009.
Goal of the day
Katlego Mphela, (90+3'): Still reeling from having seen their 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 deficit within the space of a minute, South Africa were indebted to a sumptuous set piece from substitute Mphela to take the match into extra time. Handed a lifeline deep into injury time after a foul by Liverpool winger Albert Riera, Mphela stepped up to fire home a guided-missile of a free-kick from fully 35 yards which even a keeper of the calibre of Real Madrid's Iker Casillas could do absolutely nothing about.
Heading in the right direction (74'): Sometimes you just cannot quite shake off the playing bug especially when you are a coach, as Dunga proved during the final. When the ball bounced kindly for Luis Fabiano after Robinho's shot had rebounded off the crossbar, the former FIFA World Cup winner was seen to mime the action of heading the ball into the net, as if to show Luis Fabiano exactly how to do it. Fortunately for Dunga, Brazil and the striker himself; that is exactly what he did.
‘Diamond' Guiza; did he mean it? (89'): Having stunned South Africa just moments earlier by levelling the score at 1-1 with a crisp right-footed finish, the Fenerbahce forward collected the ball just inside the box in the right-hand channel before sending a inch-perfect lob spinning high beyond the reach of the helpless Bafana Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune and in off the inside of the far post. Though tempted to give full credit to the former Mallorca poacher for an opportunistic strike, could Guiza's pinpoint chip really have been a mis-hit cross?
5 - Before the tournament began, Luis Fabiano said that he would score in every match. Although he drew a blank against USA in the group stages and South Africa in the semi-final, a double against Group B rivals Italy and again tonight at Ellis Park ensured that he averaged a goal a game to pick up the adidas Golden Shoe.
In the crowd
Relatives of two famous figures evoked differing emotions during the final. Before the game, Marc-Scott Foe, the 14-year-old son of Marc-Vivien Foe, read an emotional tribute in which he thanked the football family for the support his family had received since his father's death. The former Cameroon star collapsed in the centre circle during the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final six years ago against Colombia and died soon after arriving in hospital.
Then at the end of the match, there were cheers for Zenani Mandela, the great-grand daughter of Nelson Mandela who carried the trophy on to the stage for the award ceremony.
"Maximum respect to USA. They played well and had Brazil on the ropes. Like in the first game, I think inexperience killed them. Had they been more accustomed to these situations, they probably would have won," mehicoboy, writing in the FanChat section of the EMIRATES MatchCast.
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