Sweden sunk by dazzling debutant
AFP · 27 Mar 2008, 07:40
Published: 27 Mar 2008 07:40 GMT+01:00
The 18-year-old only made his first appearance for AC Milan two months ago but is already being heralded as a phenomenal young talent.
So it was fitting he made such an instant impact in a friendly match in London arranged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brazil's first World Cup final triumph.
That 5-2 win over the Swedes in 1958 established Pele as the game's first global star.
Pato has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as Pele, but he got off to the perfect start at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
Pato had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes as a second-half substitute when he punished Rami Shaaban's mistake with a goal any of Brazil's legendary figures would have been proud of.
If he does go onto establish himself as a Brazil icon, this was the moment when his legend was born.
With Kaka injured and Ronaldinho dropped by Dunga, Pato timed his claims for a regular place perfectly ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina and the Olympic Games later this year.
The Swedes had the first chance when Kim Kaällström went close with a ferocious long-range effort that whistled over Julio Cesar's crossbar. And Lars Lagerbäck's team should have taken the lead when Markus Rosenberg burst clear but he shot wastefully wide.
London has become a second home to Brazil. This was their fifth friendly in the English capital in the last two years and their third visit to the Emirates.
Brazil's Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva was in action on his home ground and Julio Baptista needed no introduction to the near-capacity crowd after his loan spell with the Gunners last season.
ut the midfielder didn't score often for Arsenal and he was frustrated by Andreas Isaksson's smart save midway through the half, then curled a free-kick narrowly past a post.
Diego was dictating Brazil's tempo but for all their neat passing the Selecao lacked a cutting edge. It wasn't long into the second half before Brazil's fans began chanting for the introduction of Pato.
They didn't have to wait long as Dunga sent on Pato in the 60th minute to a rapturous reception.
Mike Riley was in hot water a week ago when he failed to send off Chelsea's Ashley Cole for his horror tackle on Tottenham's Alan Hutton.
Now it was Brazil's turn to be angered by the referee when he waved away their penalty appeals for Mikael Dorsin's blatant push on Diego.
Pato had already played at the Emirates for Milan against Arsenal earlier this month. He was subdued that night but stole the show in the 72nd minute this time.
When Swedish substitute goalkeeper Shaaban miscued his clearance into Pato's legs just outside the left-edge of the penalty area the teenager still had plenty to do.
He managed it with aplomb, lifting a perfectly-placed shot into the far corner from an actute angle to announce his arrival on the world stage.