Brazil needed an own goal in injury time to defeat
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in a friendly in Switzerland on Tuesday.
The late winner came after a cross by FC Porto striker Hulk
deflected off defender Sasa Papac in the first minute of added time
in St. Gallen.
Brazil struggled during most of the match at the AFG Arena,
failing to impose its style and leaving spaces for the Bosnians,
who had good chances to score in the second half.
”It was a tough match, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,”
Brazil striker Neymar said. ”It was cold and the Bosnian team has
a lot of quality. It was important to get the victory.”
Real Madrid left back Marcelo opened the scoring for Brazil from
inside the area just four minutes into the match, firing a low shot
into the far corner after a well-placed pass by Barcelona right
back Daniel Alves.
Bosnia equalized with a shot from Stuttgart striker Vedad
Ibisevic, who took advantage of a breakaway after Chelsea defender
David Luiz gave the ball away with a bad pass near midfield in the
13th. Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar seemed to have a chance to
stop Ibisevic’s low shot but the ball bounced past him.
Bosnia threatened on counter attacks throughout the second half
but Brazil’s pressure paid off at the end with Hulk’s play from the
”I saw a lot of people inside the area so I made the cross to
see what happened,” Hulk said. ”Thankfully it hit someone and
went it. It was important to give us the victory.”
It was Brazil’s first match of the year, and coach Mano Menezes
had all his players available. In the friendlies against Gabon and
Egypt in November, he could not count on players from Brazilian
clubs because the Brazilian league was in its decisive stages.
But his list didn’t include Real Madrid playmaker Kaka or AC
Milan strikers Alexandre Pato and Robinho. Pato was still
recovering from an injury, but Robinho and Kaka could’ve been
summoned if Menezes wanted.
”We are still trying to find our best form,” Neymar said.
Ronaldinho, who remained in the squad despite poor performances
with Flamengo in Brazil, was replaced by Paulo Henrique Ganso in
the 63rd on Tuesday.
Eight of the players called up for the friendly against Bosnia
were young enough to play in the Olympics, the only major football
competition Brazil has never won. Neymar, Ganso, Sandro, Lucas and
Leandro Damiao played against Bosnia.
Brazil will face Denmark in Germany in May, then will tour the
United States to play the hosts on May 30, Mexico on June 3 and
South American rival Argentina on June 9.