LONDON - Brazil, with playmaker Ronaldinho
back in the side, struggled to beat 10-man Ghana 1-0 in a
friendly at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on Monday.
Leandro Damiao struck the only goal on the stroke of
half-time, running on to a defence-splitting ball from
Fernandinho and finding the corner of the net from a tight
It was one of the few moments of invention from the former
world champions, even with the crafty Ronaldinho returning for
his first international appearance since November after showing
excellent form for Brazilian title contenders Flamengo.
Ghana never threatened after having defender Daniel Opare
sent off in the 32nd minute, a series of over exuberant
challenges earning him repeated warnings from Mike Dean before
the English referee ran out of patience.
The game started at a furious pace but the red card changed
things, with Ghana retreating after half-time in a bid to keep
Brazil at bay.
The match occasionally threatened to boil over as Dean
produced seven yellow cards in addition to the two cautions
received by Opare.
Ronaldinho, a World Cup winner in 2002, only came to the
fore towards the end.
He delivered a perfect cross to provide substitute Alexandre
Pato with a header that forced a brilliant save from Ghana's new
goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.
The Norwegian-born keeper, winning his second cap, then
saved a free-kick by Ronaldinho in the 89th minute.
After the match Ronaldinho and Damiao were included by coach
Mano Menezes in a squad of home-based players for two 'B'
friendlies against Argentina later this month.
Also included were gifted teenagers Neymar and Lucas, who
were in Brazil's Copa America squad in July, but midfielder
Paulo Henrique Ganso will miss out after being injured against
Monday's win for Brazil, who will host the 2014 World Cup,
followed their unexpectedly early elimination from the Copa
America and a 3-2 defeat by Germany in a friendly in Stuttgart
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