x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Alves late free-kick knocks out hosts

Dani Alves scores with two minutes to spare to send Brazil through to their fourth Confederations Cup final.

The Brazil fullback Daniel Alves, right,  attempts to find a way past the South African defence.
The Brazil fullback Daniel Alves, right, attempts to find a way past the South African defence.

JOHANNESBURG // Dani Alves scored with two minutes left to give Brazil a 1-0 win over South Africa and a place in the Confederations Cup final against the United States. South Africa had put in a tight defensive shift against the five time world-champions, but the substitute curled in a shot from the edge of the area to give his team a chance of a record third title, it will be their fourth Confederations Cup final.

South Africa had displayed far more energy and guile than Brazil but lacked a finishing touch up front. In Sunday's final at Ellis Park, the Brazilians will face the United States, who upset Spain 2-0 24 hours earlier. Just four days after routing the World Cup holders Italy 3-0, Brazil looked short of ideas and laboured in their efforts to find an opening - largely down to a lack of width. Only Kaka seemed able to direct his passes with any regular accuracy as South Africa's work rate prevented Itumeleng Khune from being troubled in the host's goal. The central defender Matthew Booth snuffed out almost every attempted attack from the wayward Luis Fabiano and ineffective Robinho, Brazil's best chances had been shots from Ramires, Andre Santos and Kaka but Khune was more than up to match their efforts.

At the other end South Africa's best chance fell to their captain Aaron Mokoena in the first half. However, he made a hash of his header from a few yards out. Mokoena was also involved in Brazil's goal when he brought down Ramires on the right-hand side as the tepid match was destined for extra-time. Alves stepped up and curled in the free-kick with two-minutes to spare, the only real bit of class produced throughout the 90 minutes.

*AP