World player of the year Ronaldinho gave a
dazzling performance as Brazil thrashed Hong Kong 7-1 in a one-sided
The Barcelona star got on the scoresheet with a cheeky lob and produced
some magical touches in a virtuoso performance for the world champions
that delighted Hong Kong fans celebrating the Lunar New Year holiday.
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was left purring with delight after
Ronaldinho's sublime dislay.
"He's a wonderful player," said Parreira. "He can make special passes,
special movements and special goals -- everything he does is differnet,
that's why he was voted the best player in the world and he showed it
Bayern Munich defender Lucio opened the scoring in the 21st minute,
latching on to a Robinho cross to plant a downward header past Hong Kong
goalkeeper Fan Chun-Yip.
Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos, who had earlier cleared the crossbar
with an audacious effort from the half-way line, made it 2-0 with a
fierce left-footed shot before Ricardo Oliveira's curler on the stroke
Ronaldinho made it 4-0 just after the break, and then launched the move
which ended up with the fifth, outrageously looking to the left flank
while spraying a pass to the right. Oliveira applied the finish.
Santos striker Robinho scored with a close-range header and a
left-footed penalty by second-half substitute Alex rounded off Brazil's
scoring with 10 minutes to go.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for Hong Kong's Lee
Sze-Ming, who nodded home a consolation strike for the home side after a
late goalmouth scramble.
Brazil, using the match as preparation for next month's World Cup
qualifiers with Uruguay and Peru, were missing star striker Ronaldo who
was not released by his club Real Madrid.
However they fielded a near full-strength side including Ronaldinho,
Roberto Carlos and rising star Robinho, who mesmerised the crowd -- and
the home team -- with their pace, power and close control.
"We knew the technical difference is too big between Brazil, who are
five-times world champions, and the Hong Kong team but we knew quality
is not enough if you don't commit yourself, if you don't play with heart
and spirit, but we did today," said Parreira.
It could have been worse for Hong Kong if not for the heroics of
goalkeeper Fan, who saved at the feet of Ronaldinho and Oliveira as well
as stopping a point-blank effort from the head of the Real Betis striker.
Chances were few for the home team, ranked 144th by FIFA, although Wong
Chun-Yue had a shot blocked by Brazil 'keeper Julio Cesar in the opening
minutes and Luk Koon-Pong fired over late on.
"After this game we know there's definitely some difference in the level
between Hong Kong and Brazil," said Hong Kong coach Lai Sun-Cheung. "Hong
Kong played this game under a lot of pressure but we learned a lot from
The match, which was criticised by FIFA president Sepp Blatter as a "money-making"
exercise, was also dogged by lacklustre ticket sales with the
40,000-seat Hong Kong stadium only about two-thirds full.