Brazil march on
27 Jun 2006 - 19:00:19
Ronaldo fired home a record 15th World Cup finals goal to set Brazil on their way to a 3-0 second round win against Ghana in Dortmund.
The striker, heavily criticised for his performances in the holders' first two group matches, latched on to Kaka's defence-splitting pass and danced round Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingston to give Brazil a fifth-minute lead.
Adriano doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time and Ze Roberto made it three in the closing stages, by which time the Black Stars had been reduced to ten men after Asamoah Gyan collected a second yellow card for a blatant dive.
However, the scoreline was hardly an accurate reflection of play, as Ghana made the Selecao look like an ordinary team for long stages of the match.
And had Ratomir Dujkovic's men shown more composure in front of goal they could well have given the champions a real scare.
Brazil started well and could have gone ahead in the first minute had a Ronaldo not incorrectly been ruled offside as he raced on to Ronaldinho's pass in to the Ghanaian box.
The Black Stars did not learn their lesson and continued to defend too high up the pitch, giving Ronaldo an easy task to beat the offside trap and score the opener.
Adriano then squandered a great opportunity for a second when, with Ronaldo unmarked in the area, he attempted to go round the goalkeeper and lost control of the ball before throwing himself theatrically to the turf to earn a yellow card.
Ghana looked ready to collapse but gradually fought their way back in to the game, with Haminu Dramani, Sulley Muntari and Gyan causing the Brazilian back-line constant problems.
However, their finishing did not match the quality of their approach play and a succession of shots flew high or wide, before John Mensah planted a powerful header on target only to see it hit the right foot of Brazil 'keeper Dida and rebound to safety.
The holders' response was to score a breakaway goal just before the interval. A swift passing move culminated in Cafu crossing from the right for Adriano to tap home from close range.
The Ghanaians complained bitterly that Adriano had been offside, and television replays confirmed their suspicions.
The second half saw Ghana create a succession of shooting opportunities, but Dida was only ever required to make the occasional regulation save.
The Black Stars' hopes were effectively ended when Gyan was dismissed nine minutes from time.
Brazil took full advantage three minutes later as Ze Roberto raced on to a hopeful ball over the top and knocked it round the goalkeeper, before slotting it in to an unguarded net.
Kingston made a succession of fine saves in the dying minutes to prevent Brazil scoring a fourth goal and putting an undeserved gloss on an uninspiring performance.