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World Cup: Brazil Beats Turkey 2-1


Playing in its first World Cup football finals in 48 years, Turkey faced the difficult task of playing four-time champion Brazil in its opening Group C match.

It was Turkey that got on the scoreboard first, but in the end, it was Brazil coming away with a two to one victory.

The winning goal came in the 87th minute on a penalty kick by Rivaldo, after teammate Luizao had been taken down in the box by Turkey's Alpay Ozalan. Ozalan was shown a red card and ejected for his infraction.

Turkey got the first goal of the match just moments before the half-time whistle, as Hasan Sas, racing down the left, took a nicely arched pass from the middle and volleyed it inside the near post with his left foot.

It left the Brazilians stunned going to the intermission, as they had had three great opportunities to score in the previous five minutes. But all were thwarted by the brilliant goaltending of Turkey's Rustu Recber.

However, the Brazilians were not to be denied. In the 50th minute, Gilberto Silva sent a crossing pass from the left, into the goal box and Ronaldo split two defenders and scored on a sliding right-footed volley.

The game remained one to one until the closing minutes when Rivaldo converted the penalty kick.

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said that it was a difficult match for one's World Cup coaching debut, but he was glad the way his team responded after trailing 1-0 at the half. "We made the mistake of allowing them to take the lead," he said. "And, of course, immediately after Turkey takes the lead, Brazil has to overcome that. But we should not forget that Turkey succeeded in doing a very good job in qualifying, an excellent job in their friendly matches. We definitely must respect Turkey for what they have presented here today, but I am happy with my team."

Coach Scolari added his Brazilian team needs to convert a higher percentage of its good scoring opportunities.

Turkish coach Senol Gunes said that his team had set a target of winning all three of its Group C matches, and he was disappointed his team came so close to at least gaining a draw against the four-time World Cup champions. "We did not see the Brazil match as a final [one that would determine whether Turkey can advance from the group], and so it is not a final," he said. "We deserved one point [for a draw], but could not get it for some other reasons that I do not want to mention now. We have two games left to try to get the points that will take us to the knockout stage [second round]."

Those two games are against China and Costa Rica, the other two teams in Group C. China makes its World Cup debut Tuesday against Costa Rica in Gwangju.

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