Brazil easily beat Zimbabwe, 3-0, in a World Cup exhibition yesterday, despite an injury scare that forced first-choice goalkeeper Julio Cesar out of the game.
While Paraguay won, 2-0, against fellow World Cup qualifier Greece, Brazil eased past its lowly opponent in Harare, Zimbabwe, on goals by Michel Bastos, Robinho and Elano.
Cesar walked out of the match in the 26th minute because of a back injury, though team doctors said the Inter Milan player was not seriously injured and was replaced as a precaution.
Honduras warmed up for its opener against Chile with a 0-0 draw against Azerbaijan in Austria. Serbia, the other World Cup qualifier in action yesterday, also was preparing at altitude in Austria and drew 0-0 against Poland.
With 13 days until its World Cup opener against North Korea, Brazil’s near full-strength team started slowly under the gaze of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
“It was a good match, but we still have to improve a little,’’ Elano said.
Brazil had to wait until the 41st minute for Bastos to open the scoring with a powerful free kick.
“It was a sensational feeling,’’ Bastos said. “I was able to take advantage of the chance I had. The World Cup starts today for me.’’
Robinho added a second goal from inside the penalty area three minutes later and Elano made it 3-0 from close range in the 56th.
US Open Cup — Andy Najar scored in the 107th minute as D.C. United advanced with a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake.
Najar found a seam between Tony Beltran and Will Johnson about 12 yards, then burst through to beat Kyle Reynish low.
MLS — Juan Pablo Angel scored with seconds remaining in extra time to give the Red Bulls a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo, snapping a four-game losing streak for host New York . . . Chris Wondolowski scored in the 79th minute and the San Jose Earthquakes salvaged a 2-2 tie with the Columbus Crew at Santa Clara, Calif.