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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Soccer: Brazil stops South Africa, plays U.S. in Confederations Cup final


STUART CONDIE
AP Sports Writer

JOHANNESBURG Daniel Alves scored with two minutes left today to give Brazil a 1-0 win over South Africa and a place in the Confederations Cup final against the United States.

South Africa had unsettled Brazil with a frantic hustling game of quick challenges and tight marking, but the substitute right back curled in a shot from the edge of the area to give his team a chance of a record third title.

South Africa had displayed far more energy and guile than Brazil but lacked a finishing touch up front.

In Sunday's final at Ellis Park, the Brazilians will face the United States, which upset Spain 2-0 Wednesday.

Just four days after routing World Cup holder Italy 3-0, Brazil looked short of ideas and labored in its efforts to find an opening largely trying to play through the middle.

Only Kaka seemed able to direct his passes with any regular accuracy as South Africa matched its illustrious opponents in terms of skill and surpassed them on work rate.

The home side covered almost 10 percent more ground throughout the match and matched their opponents' 12 shots on goal.

With central defender Matthew Booth snuffing out almost every attempted attack from the wayward Luis Fabiano and ineffective Robinho, Brazil's best chances had been shots from Ramires, Andre Santos and Kaka that goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune easily saved.

Where almost everything Brazil attempted in its 3-0 win over worked, the ball inexplicably seemed to get stuck under the players' feet at Ellis Park.