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Brazil end year with morale-boosting win

BRAZIL-AUSTRIAVIENNA, November 19- Brazil ended a disappointing year with a 2-1 win over Austria in an international friendly in Vienna on Tuesday as the five-times world champions made it six wins out of six since their World Cup mauling by Germany, which saw 1994 skipper Dunga take over the reins from Luiz Felipe Scolari as coach.

Paris Saint-Germain centre-back David Luiz opened the scoring for the visitors before Aleksandar Dragovic equalised from the penalty spot, only for Roberto Firminio to snatch the Brazilian winner seven minutes form time, a precise strike that was his first goal for the national side in only his second appearance.

Dunga was delighted to see his gamble on new face Firmino paying off after he sent the Germany-based player on for Luiz Adriano.

“When I picked the squad and people asked me about Firmino I said he has goals in him,” Dunga said of the Hoffenheim starlet.

The 23-year-old Firmino, benefiting from Dunga picking an all-European based squad with Brazilian clubs involved in hectic domestic activity, said he was delighted to get onto the pitch, never mind the scoresheet.

“It’s a dream to be here. I’m just so happy I was able to get on and help my teammates, and to score a goal is better still, simply marvellous,” said Firmino. 

He told Brazilian sports magazine Lance he had barely slept since first being called up two weeks ago prior to his debut cameo from the bench in last week’s 4-0 romp in Turkey.

The result, which saw Brazil concede their first goal of Dunga’s second reign, will not make up for Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to eventual champions Germany on home soil in July, but will at least send the Selecao into the new year with a more positive vibe, particularly given the emergence of several new faces, including Firmino and Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano, while Porto defensive midfielder Casemiro, overlooked for the World Cup, came on in the closing stages in place of Manchester City’s Fernandinho.

One enforced change Tuesday saw former skipper Thaigo Silva come on for Miranda, who pulled a hamstring in the first half. Monday, Silva had insisted he had not fallen out with Neymar, whom Dunga has given the captain’s armband since replacing Scolari in the dugout.

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Defensive starlet Luiz opened the scoring on 64 minutes after eluding his marker at an Oscar corner.

However, Oscar then gave away the penalty by fouling Andreas Wiemann, from which Dragovic cooly slotted home the equaliser.

Yet Hoffenheim midfielder Firminio had the last laugh with a sumptuous strike from 20 yards to win the game.

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