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Brazil hit Gabon in stadium opener

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LIBREVILLE, Gabon, November 11 – World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil celebrated a 2-0 friendly win over Gabon Thursday as the hosts inaugurated the Stade de l’Amitie.

Gabon’s new national stadium will stage the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, on February 12.

And the hosts gave the former world champions a run for their money, creating a host of scoring chances but ultimately failing to respond to first half goals by Sandro and Hernanes.

Tottenham midfielder Sandro opened the scoring for Mano Menezes’ visitors in the 12th minute, with Lazio midfielder Hernanes doubling the score 10 minutes before the break.

Brazil play a second friendly against Egypt in Doha, Qatar, on Monday.

Meanwhile, Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech is fit to face Montenegro in Friday’s Euro 2012 play-off despite his broken nose, Czech team doctor Petr Krejci said Thursday.

“Petr has managed the whole practice and he’s able to play on Friday,” Krejci told reporters after Thursday’s practice, which the Chelsea keeper managed without any relief.

“He feels pain after certain hits, but it’s still an injury he can play with,” he said, adding however that the final decision would be up to Cech himself.

Cech, the first-choice keeper for the Czech Republic, broke his nose in a clash with teammate Ashley Cole in Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Blackburn last Saturday.

The 29-year-old, who already wears protective headgear following a skull fracture five years ago, has had a special mask made of carbon fibres in Italy to protect his nose.

“It’s a bit unusual but I used to play ice-hockey when I was a kid so I had wires before my eyes and I never minded that,” Cech told reporters.

When he was testing the mask, “they threw a ball from a metre at it and it hurt only as if they had touched the nose,” he added.

“If I considered all risks, I wouldn’t have to come here,” he said after arriving in Prague on Wednesday.

“There are things in the game that you can’t influence. If I get hit, I’ll get hit,” said Cech, whose nose has become the butt of jokes with images of Batman or Darth Vader going viral under Cech’s name since last weekend.

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