Fred guides Brazil to Confederations Cup glory

Rio de Janeiro, July 1 (IANS) Fred scored a goal on either side of half-time as Brazil clinched their fourth Confederations Cup football title with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Spain.

The Fluminense striker slid in the opener in the second minute before Neymar’s powerful shot made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time at the packed Maracana here Sunday night, reports Xinhua.

Brazil extended their lead after the break, again courtesy a precise Fred finish, before Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos missed a penalty for Spain.

The reigning World Cup champions were then reduced to 10 men when Gerard Pique was sent off for a crude tackle on new Barcelona teammate Neymar.

The victory adds to Brazil’s Confederations Cup triumphs in 1997, 2005 and 2009.

For Spain, the World Cup warmup event continues to be the only major tournament missing from their trophy cabinet under current coach Vicente del Bosque.

Fred sparked jubilant celebrations from the partisan crowd of 73,000 fans at the Maracana. His toe-poke from inside the six-yard box came despite losing his footing following Hulk’s cross from the right.

Paulinho’s delightful chip from distance almost caught Iker Casillas off his line but La Roja captain made a finger-tipping save.

Spain looked a shadow of the side that has dominated world football over the past five years.

In a rare foray forward, Andres Iniesta tried his luck from distance but his shot was parried clear by Julio Cesar.

Vicente del Bosque’s team were forced into uncharacteristic errors and almost paid the price after an errant Ramos pass allowed Neymar to break free on the counterattack.

The Brazil forward laid the ball off to Fred, who was only denied his second goal by a reflex Casillas save.

Spain’s best chance came in the 40th minute when Mata’s pass allowed Pedro to sprint clear into the area.

But his goalbound effort was spectacularly thwarted on the goalline by a sliding David Luiz clearance.

Neymar then made it 2-0 by playing a neat one-two with Oscar before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Casillas.

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