September 7, 2012
Hulk seals win for below-par Brazil
A second-half strike by Hulk gave Brazil a narrow victory over South Africa in a friendly at the Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo.
The unconvincing display got a harsh reception from around 50,000 home supporters, many of whom turned their ire on Santos striker Neymar - who had a below-par game and was booed off after being substituted late on - while under-pressure coach Mano Menezes was also a target.
The hosts bossed possession in the first half but were unable to seriously test South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Their listless display continued after the break, prompting increased unrest from the Brazil fans.
Menezes looked to shake his side into life with a rash of substitutions after the break, sending on Hulk, Paulinho and Alex Sandro.
And the changes finally paid off in the 74th minute when Khune failed to hold on to a powerful David Luiz drive and Zenit St Petersburg new boy Hulk was on hand to tuck home the rebound.
South Africa went in search of an equaliser, but continued to remain bereft of ideas in front of goal, with the Brazilian backline never in real danger of being breached.
Match-winner Hulk conceded that the Selecao had not been at their best, but admitted his surprise at the reaction of the home crowd.
"Things didn't happen as we wanted," he said. "We expected more applause than whistles.
"I think the team's performance will start to improve in the next games. Meanwhile, we have to learn how to play under pressure. We all play in very important teams, and that give us experience to do it."
Vasco da Gama's Dede, who came off the bench in the second half, added: "Despite everything, we won today and I'm sure we will play better in the future.''
This was the first of three friendlies Brazil will play at home between now and the end of the year.
They also face China in Recife and Argentina in Goiania.
|1 Diego Alves||16 Itumeleng Khune|
|2 Dani Alves||2 Siboniso Gaxa|
|3 Anderson de Oliveria Gomes Dede||21 Siyabonga Sangweni|
|6 Marcelo||14 Bongani Khumalo|
|4 David Luiz||3 Punch Masenamela|
|7 Lucas||8 Siphiwe Tshabalala|
|8 Ramires||15 Dean Furman|
|5 Borges Romulo||13 Kagisho Dikgacoi|
|10 Oscar||10 Thulani Serero|
|11 Neymar||6 Lerato Chabangu|
|9 Leandro Damiao||23 Dino Ndlovu|
|21 Alex Sandro||Goerge Maluleka|
|Arouca||Reneilwe Letsholonyane 12|
|Hulk||Benny McCarthy 26|
|Jonas||May Mahlangu 19|
|Bernard Parker 17|
|Alex Sandro for Marcelo (59)||Benny McCarthy for Dino Ndlovu (32)|
|Jonas for Lucas (72)||Bernard Parker for Benny McCarthy (43)|
|Hulk for Ramires (73)||Reneilwe Letsholonyane for Lerato Chabangu (55)|
|Arouca for Neymar (89)||May Mahlangu for Dean Furman (58)|
|Goerge Maluleka for Thulani Serero (76)|
|Anderson de Oliveria Gomes Dede (12)||Lerato Chabangu (15)|
|Marcelo (38)||Siboniso Gaxa (78)|
|Hulk (90)||Kagisho Dikgacoi (90)|
|· Squads: Brazil | South Africa|