FIFA World Player of the Year Kaka returned after an 11-month international absence to inspire five-time champions Brazil to a 4-0 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying victory over Venezuela on Sunday. The 26-year-old AC Milan star was on target after only six minutes and set up the third goal as Brazil moved back into the second place in the South American standings with 16 points, four behind leaders Paraguay. Manchester City ace Robinho also grabbed a share of the headlines with two sublime goals.
Venezuela entered the match buoyed by having won a friendly between the two nations, 2-0, in in Boston last year, ending a run of 17 successive defeats against their illustrious rivals. However, within 20 minutes, any hopes Venezuela coach Cesar Farias had of overseeing another shock were extinguished. With six minutes gone, Kaka beat goalkeeper Renny Vega with a shot from a difficult angle that went in off the post. It was the AC Milan star's 23rd international goal in his 60th appearance.
Four minutes later, Robinho made it 2-0 when he cut inside from the left and drove the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards. By the 20th minute, it was 3-0 with troubled striker Adriano, recalled this year after a series of fitness and disciplinary problems, finding the net from close range. Kaka had broken from midfield and sent Elano, another Manchester City player, free down the left-hand side. His shot fell invitingly for Adriano to beat Vega and to justify his selection by coach Dunga who was deprived of the injured Luis Fabiano.
Venezuela had chances to hit back before half-time as Brazil's defensive frailties looked in danger of being exposed, but Alejandro Guerra, Jorge Rojas, Juan Arango and Giancarlo Maldonado wasted opportunities. Adriano was booked on the stroke of half-time, meaning he will be suspended for Wednesday's game in Colombia.
Brazil keeper Julio Cesar was twice called on early in the second half to save from Maldonado at close range. Venezuela, the only South American team never to have played in a FIFA World Cup, paid for their wastefulness after 69 minutes when Robinho added his second goal after being put through by Kleber. Robinho controlled the ball superbly, steadied himself and slotted the ball into the corner of the net.
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