Brazil holds off feisty North Korea in chilly World Cup game
JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Maicon and Elano scored a goal apiece in the second half and Brazil broke through a solid North Korea defense to win its first 2010 World Cup match 2-1 on a frigid Tuesday night.
Brazil escaped with a hard-fought victory in the Group G match after struggling to get past the defensive setup of the North Koreans, who are making their first World Cup appearance in 44 years and arrived as the tournament’s lowest-ranked team.
Maicon put Brazil ahead after a through ball from midfielder Elano, making a run on the right side and firing into the far corner from a tight angle as North Korea goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk went for the cross.
Elano added to the lead after a well-timed pass from Robinho.
Ji Yun Nam scored for North Korea in the 89th minute in 34-degree temperatures with a wind-chill of 24.
New Zealand 1, Slovakia 1
RUSTENBURG, South Africa – Winston Reid scored in second-half injury time Tuesday, lifting New Zealand to a 1-1 draw with Slovakia.
Robert Vittek scored early in the second half, giving Slovakia the lead in World Cup Group F. But Reid sneaked behind the defense to take a long cross from Shane Smeltz and tie it.
The Kiwis are ranked 78th in the world, 44 spots above Slovakia, which is in its first World Cup as an independent nation.
Slovakia’s goal came in the 50th minute when Stanislav Sestak crossed from the right side. Reid missed his defensive header, allowing Vittek to scored from close range at the far post.
Vittek nearly doubled the lead in the 69th minute on a counterattack, but goalkeeper Mark Paston was quick off his line and made the save.
All four teams have one point in Group F. Italy and Paraguay drew 1-1 Monday.
Reid’s strike gave New Zealand its first point at a World Cup after going winless in its 1982 debut.
Portugal 0, Ivory Coast 0
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – Ivory Coast tied Portugal 0-0 at the World Cup, largely outplaying its higher-ranked opponent despite Didier Drogba only coming on as a late substitute.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo rattled a 30-yard strike off the left post in the 11th minute, but Ivory Coast otherwise created the better chances.
Drogba came on as a 66th-minute substitute for fellow Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou after FIFA cleared him to play with a cast on his right arm, which he broke in a warmup match against Japan on June 4.
He was only ruled eligible shortly before kickoff at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and his entrance was greeted by huge cheers, with vuvuzelas drowning out the drums of Ivorian fans for the first time in the match.