LONDON: Fred spared Brazil’s blushes with a last-gasp equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw against Russia in Monday’s friendly at the Stamford Bridge.
Luiz Felipe Scolari is still waiting for the first win of his second spell as Brazil manager following this lacklustre display on a freezing evening in west London, but it would have been even more embarrassing for the former Chelsea boss without Fred’s late intervention.
Russia took a deserved lead when Zenit St Petersburg winger Victor Fayzulin scored his third goal for Fabio Capello’s side in the 73rd minute. But Fluminense forward Fred snatched a dramatic equaliser when he tapped home Marcelo’s cross from close range in the last minute.
For Scolari the fixture marked a return to Chelsea, where he spent seven months before being sacked by Roman Abramovich in 2009, but he failed to take the opportunity to prove a point to the Blues’ Russian owner.
The Selecao, continuing on their global tour in the build up to staging the 2014 World Cup, clearly have plenty of room for improvement.
Capello, who has been linked with a possible move to Chelsea in the close-season, was back in the city he called home for four years during his England reign.
This impressive result suggested he may yet get a call from Abramovich to return to English football.
Russia’s Sergey Ignashevich called Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar into action after just two minutes when he unleashed a powerful 30-yard drive.
The CSKA Moscow centre-back’s low shot skidded across the turf, but QPR’s Cesar was equal to his effort. That wasn’t Brazil’s only early scare.
Ten minutes later Cesar’s goal was again threatened as the ball was pumped into the box and Roman Shirokov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov both saw shots blocked.
Cesar then had Real Madrid midfielder Kaka to thank for some last-ditch defending as the playmaker got another block on a shot from Kershakov and Shirokov’s follow up.
Brazil, five-time world champions, saw their goal continually peppered as defensive midfielder Shirokov then tried his luck from range in the 15th minute.