Brazil defeated Iran 3-0 today in an international friendly at the Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi in the first soccer match-up between the two nations. Goals from Dani Alves, Alexander Pato and Nilmar secured the victory for the Selecao and handed debutante coach Mano Menezes his second consecutive victory at the helm of the Brazilian national football team. Iran striker Mohammad Gholami appeared to open the scoring in the fifth minute but his goal was disallowed for a foul. Nine minutes later, Alexander Pato's sprint toward goal drew a foul that earned Brazil a direct free kick on goal 35 yards from the net. Dani Alves opened the scoring with a spectacular free kick, curling the ball into the upper left corner of the net with a wicked swerving ball that gave goalkeeper Seyed Mahdi Rahmati absolutely no chance. Minutes later, Robinho and Pato managed to collectively strike the post and shoot wide after some nifty combination work imposed pressure on the Iranian defense that should have doubled Brazil's lead by the 20th minute. Iran's Javad Nekounam had a shot cleared off the goal line by Ramires in the 46th minute but from then on, Brazil began to dominate play and impose their possession game on their less experienced opponents. Pato finally found the back of the net in the 69th minute after surging through the center of the defense in trademark fashion and burying the ball in the center of the roof of the net with clinical precision and power. Substitute Nilmar threatened goalkeeper Rahmati multiple times in the remaining 10 minutes of the game until a pass from Andre Santos on the left wing found the Villareal striker lurking at the right corner with perfect timing and balance to direct the ball into the top left corner for a well deserved 3-0 Brazil victory.
Overall, this was a great result for Mano, who played Carlos Eduardo in the attacking midfield position behind Robinho, Pato and Philippe Coutinho. We saw Alexander Pato surge forward from deep positions and assert his authority as the lone, pure striker in dramatic fashion that recalled the brilliance of his compatriot Ronaldo in his days at Barcelona. The match also marked the ascension of Dani Alves to the free kick throne formerly held by Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. The Barcelona star's sublime 14th minute free kick focused the Brazilians after some scrappy play in the opening few minutes of the game and gave the Selecao the boost they needed to carve out a victory in the sweltering Abu Dhabi heat.