June 29, 2009

FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009

The final day of the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 produced ten goals and two comebacks, as Brazil and Spain turned the tables on USA and South Africa respectively. When matchwinner Lucio lifted the trophy, he also created history for Dunga, who became the first person to win the tournament as a player and a coach.

An action-packed competition got the final it deserved at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, with Brazil and USA serving up a five-goal thriller which ended in the Seleção's favour courtesy of Lucio's 84th-minute header. Yet it was the American underdogs who had looked the most likely to take the honours at the interval, having raced into a two-goal lead thanks to Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. However, the five-time FIFA World Cup™-winners grabbed a vital lifeline just moments into the second period through adidas Golden Shoe winner Luis Fabiano, who subsequently took his tally to five goals in five games with the 74th minute equaliser which set up his skipper's grandstand finish.

In the play-off for third place, any fans leaving Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Stadium early will be kicking themselves after a match which failed to ignite until South Africa stung Spain into action through Katlego Mphela's 73rd minute opener. With Bafana Bafana all but ready to occupy the final place on the podium, two goals in a minute from La Roja's Daniel Guiza spun the scoreline on its head, only for Mphela to level matters in the third minute of added time. Clear chances came and went for the hosts in the first period of extra-time before Xabi Alonso's 107th minute free-kick eluded everybody before nestling in the back of the net to clinch third spot for La Selección here at South Africa 2009.

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