JOHANNESBURG: Luis Fabiano scored a pair of goals and Elano added another as Brazil beat Ivory Coast 3-1 Sunday to secure a spot in the second round of the World Cup with a match to spare in Group G.
Luis Fabiano scored his first goal in six matches for Brazil with a powerful right-footer in the 25th minute from a difficult angle after a perfect pass between two defenders by Kaka.
He doubled the lead with a contentious goal in the 50th with a left-footer from near the penalty spot after beating two defenders inside the area.
TV replays appeared to show Luis Fabiano handling the ball twice to gain control.
When asked if it was a hand ball, he laughed for a few seconds.
"It’s true, the ball really touched my hand and then my shoulder," he said.
"But it was involuntary. It was one of the greatest goals I’ve scored in my career."
Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said the goal shouldn’t have been allowed.
"They got a goal free. That’s a 2-nil goal — that changed everything,"
Eriksson said. "It’s even more difficult if he’s allowed to use his hands. Of course it’s hand ball. It’s not once, it’s twice."
Elano scored Brazil’s third goal in the 62nd after another setup by Kaka, who was sent off in the 88th after being booked twice within four minutes in a spiteful finish.
Didier Drogba, in the starting lineup for the first time since breaking his right arm on June 4, scored the lone goal for Ivory Coast with a header in the 79th.
It was a physical match at Soccer City, with hard fouls from both sides and players confronting each other at times. Kaka got into an altercation with Kader Keita near the end of the match and was ejected after a second yellow card.
Keita appeared to run into Kaka while going for a ball, but Ivory Coast players were upset with the play and went after Kaka. The Brazilians quickly came to defend Kaka and a shoving match nearly began.
"The red card was completely unfair," Brazil coach Dunga said.
Kaka did not want to talk about the red card, but complained of rough play by the Ivory Coast players.
"It was a tough match," he said. "It got violent in two or three plays there."
The victory at Soccer City gives Brazil six points from two matches, leaving the Ivory Coast in difficult position to advance from the group stage.
Brazil has won all six matches it has played against African nations in the World Cup.
Kaka, coming off a season plagued by injuries, again was far from his best, but showed his poise on Sunday by setting up Luis Fabiano’s first-half goal and Elano’s in the second half in front of 84,455 fans.
Brazil made some uncharacteristic passing mistakes in the beginning and was not able to take control of the match, allowing the Ivorians to threaten in counterattacks and free kicks.
Ivory Coast put nearly all players on defense when Brazil held possession, leaving Drogba alone up front.
Drogba attempted a long-range free kick in the 13th but his shot sailed way wide. His best early chance was a header in the 54th that just missed with Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar beaten.
Salomon Kalou also caused some problems to the Brazilians in the beginning.
The Ivorians tried to press forward after conceding the first goal, but were not able to create significant scoring chances despite having the ball most of the time.
Aruna Dindane tried a long-range shot in the 38th, but Julio Cesar made an ease save in the middle of the goal.