Real Madrid’s new signing Kaka rescued Brazil with a last-gasp penalty to hand the defending champions a thrilling 4-3 win over Egypt in the Confederations Cup on Monday.
Brazil were leading 3-1 with first-half strikes from Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Juan cancelling out Mohamed Zidan’s effort before Egypt drew level with two second-half goals inside a minute.
The game looked destined for a draw until substitute Ahmed al-Muhamadi deliberately handled the ball on the Egyptian goal-line and was sent off, leaving Kaka to coolly convert from the spot in the 91st minute.
Once again the match was played in front of thousands of empty seats, despite FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s criticism that organisers had not done enough to sell tickets for Spain’s game with New Zealand on Sunday.
But there was a carnival atmosphere inside the ground that was ignited by an incredible opening 12 minutes that saw three goals.
Kaka produced a piece of magic, and exploited hesitancy in the Egyptian defence, to open the scoring in the fifth minute.
Barcelona full-back Daniel Alves chipped the ball into the box and Kaka took one touch to lob it over a defender then rounded another before slotting it past goalkeeper Essam al-Hadary.
But Brazil’s jubilation did not last long with Egypt back on level terms four minutes later when Wael Gomaa crossed from the right and Zidan rose above Alves to send a powerful header into the net.
There was more drama to come in a breathless opening spell with Brazil taking the lead again after 12 minutes when Elano’s free kick found Luis Fabiano, who cleverly directed his header into the bottom left-hand corner.
After three goals in seven minutes, the game calmed down somewhat although both Elano and Juan had chances for Brazil, while at the other end Hosni Abd Rabbou went close with a long-range drive.
Brazil got their third eight minutes before the break when Juan climbed above the defence to plant a header past Al-Hadary from Elano’s well-placed corner.
Egypt had plenty to prove here after crashing 3-1 to Algeria in World Cup qualifying last week – a result which has put their place at next year’s tournament in doubt – and the African Nations Cup holders showed their mettle, rattling Brazil with quick goals that drew them level.
After a clever build-up Sayed Moawad pulled the ball back from down the left to Mohamed Shawky, who thundered a right-footed strike past Julio Cesar.
Before a dazed Brazil had time to recover, Egypt had another with Zidan finding the net barely seconds after the restart.
It sparked a new urgency to the game with the crowd getting behind the underdogs.
Brazil coach Dunga took off Manchester City pair Robinho and Elano soon after and replaced them with Benfica midfielder Ramires and AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato but it was Kaka who ultimately saved the day.
Brazil next face CONCACAF Gold Cup winners United States on Thursday before a heavyweight bout with fellow contenders and world champions Italy on June 21.
Egypt play Italy on Thursday before meeting the United States.
Only the top two teams from each group go through to the semi-finals.
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