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Brazil labour to beat Korea

JOHANNESBURG, June 16 – Five-time World Cup winners Brazil opened their South Africa 2010 campaign with a workmanlike 2-1 win over Asian minnows North Korea on Tuesday.Despite an attacking line boasting Kaka and Robinho, the South Americans had to work hard to break down dogged defending as the North Koreans worked tirelessly.

After a resilient first half, the North Korean defence finally cracked as Maicon scored from the tightest of angles before Galatasaray’s Elano made sure of victory with the second goal in the Group G clash.

Brazil coach Dunga said he was not entirely happy with the result, but welcomed the three points with Ivory Coast and Portugal still to come.

"I believe the first match is always trying, there was a lot of nervousness, and anxiety," he said.

"We all want to score and not concede any goals. I am not entirely happy with the result, we weren’t passing as quickly as I would have liked. But the spirit of these players is strong and they are willing to learn."

North Korea coach Kim Jong Hun praised his side’s performance which had been capped by a consolation goal through Ji Yun Nam on 89 minutes.

"The Brazilian team is very strong and although we were unable to win the game, I felt my players fought very well," he said.

"We had to wait until the end of the game to score, but in the first half the players carried out the game plan very well.

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"We managed to fend them off whether they were attacking down the wings or through the middle. We didn’t win, but we have picked up some confidence and I think we will do well in the next two games."

Boasting impressive ball skills, the North Koreans attacked mainly through Jong Tae Se who tested Brazil ‘keeper Julio Cesar on several occasions.

Jong, who sobbed uncontrollably when his country’s national anthem was being played, never stopped working in a match watched by a 54,331-strong crowd at Ellis Park.

The breakthrough finally came when Elano played the ball onto Maicon who fired in his shot across the goal which curled around the near post from a tight angle on 55 minutes.

The Koreans started to show signs of tiring after conceding the goal and Pak Choi Jin was stretchered off after 69 minutes clutching his calf.

A defence-splitting pass from Robinho on 72 minutes further broke the North Korean resistence as Elano drilled his shot past Guk.

With time almost up, Ji gave the small group of Korean fans something to cheer about when he smashed his shot past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Brazil next face Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast on Sunday in Johannesburg, while North Korea take on Portugal in Cape Town on Monday.

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