Brazil`s former World Cuppers dazzle
Kolkata: Brazil`s former World Cup winners mesmerised the mecca of Indian soccer with their unmatched skills, reminding everyone of their heydays as they beat IFA XI 3-1 in an exhibition match at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday.
Though the over one lakh capacity stadium was not full, the around 25,000 spectators who were present, had their money`s worth with stars like Dunga, Bebeto, Beto, Zinho, Zuninho, Mauro Silva and others unfurling the Samba magic.
The Brazil Masters team, donning the famous yellow and green national team jersey, boasted of nine former World Cuppers, seven from the 1994 team and two from the 2002 squad.
On both these occasions, Brazil had won the World Cup.
Slowed down by age, the Brazilians compensated with their accurate small passes and dribbling.
Former Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita, famous for his acrobatic scorpion kicks and for scoring eight international goals, added glamour to the local team, which comprised several former India players like Prasun Banerjee, Gautam Sarkar, Manas Bhattacharjee and Bidesh Bose.
The Brazil team scored its first goal in the ninth minute of the 70-minute game, with Beto`s header looping into the net.
In the 15th minute, Bebeto, part of the 1994 squad, shot a powerful right-footer into the IFA XI goal, making the scoreline 2-0.
Hemanta Dora then replaced Atanu in the IFA team`s net and made things a little difficult for the Brazilian forwards, making at least two impressive saves.
The Brazil team, expectedly, had the lion`s share of possession, playing in small passes.
In the 25th minute, the first serious effort on the visitors` goal was made by Dipendu Biswas, but his shot was beautifully saved by Zetti, who punched the ball out for a corner.
At the beginning of the second half, Dipendu again attempted a long-ranger, but the ball flew past the Brazil Masters` goalpost.
In the 40th minute, Dunga completed the honours with a powerful volley, which went past a diving Dora, making the scoreline 3-0.
Higueta made a grand entry at this stage under the IFA XI bar with cheers from the crowd.
He did not disappoint the spectators and made two spectacular saves by making use of his famous scorpion kicks, diving forward and curling his legs backward to kick the incoming ball out with precision.
The IFA XI`s only moment of glory came in the 62nd minute when Dipendu scored.
He beat the famous defenders Aldair and Edmilson and placed the ball with a left-footer to the left of a diving Brazil custodian.
Two IFA defenders Goutam Ghosh and Debjit, however, had to see yellow cards for rough tackling.
Many of the spectators in the gallery carried Brazil flags and wore their favourite yellow and green jerseys to support the South American team, of which most Kolkatans have been traditional supporters.