VIENNA (AP) - Brazil midfielder Roberto Firmino scored in the 83rd minute to give his team a fortunate 2-1 win against Austria and extend its winning streak since hosting the World Cup to six matches.
Firmino, who replaced Luiz Adriano 20 minutes earlier, beat Austria keeper Ramazan Oeczan with a thundering 25-meter strike for his first international goal.
After recovering from a disappointing opening phase, Brazil took the lead in the 64th when Oscar’s corner found David Luiz, who netted with a strong header. However, TV replays showed the defender grabbed Stefan Ilsanker’s jersey and pulled the Austrian down just moments before.
Aleksandar Dragovic leveled 11 minutes later as he sent Diego Alves the wrong way from the penalty spot after Oscar fouled Andreas Weimann, who came on as a substitute for Zlatko Junuzovic three minutes earlier.
“The Austrians played physically strong, it was tough,” David Luiz said. “I can’t remember making a foul but it was a goal.”
It was Brazil’s sixth straight win though coach Dunga’s team conceded its first goal since the World Cup.
“The results reflect the work we’ve been doing,” Dunga said through an interpreter. “We have to work on details. We had some tough matches but the players understood what it took to win them. This is the beginning and we can build on it next year.”
The result ended a nine-match unbeaten streak for Austria, which started in October last year.
“It was a good match from us but the referee wasn’t there today. We could have gained a draw,” Austria coach Marcel Koller said. “We are not sad. We lost the match but we showed we can cope with a top nation. We can be proud of that.”
On a chilly and rainy autumn evening, the slippery pitch gave many players trouble though Austria handled the conditions better.
The home team dominated ball possession in the first half hour against an opposition that was imprecise in its passing and lacked pace in its forward play.
Neymar was rarely found by his teammates, and his attempts at dribbling past opponents usually failed after he picked up the ball in midfield.
“Their defense was good and we had to adapt to the wet conditions,” Dunga said.
Austria created more chances, and Rubin Okotie had a goal disallowed after Junuzovic’s free kick in the fifth minute as the Austria striker used both his hands to push the ball past Brazil keeper Diego Alves.
Junuzovic almost caught out Alves with a curling corner that the keeper just managed to block at the line, and Florian Klein saw his 15-meter shot deflected by Felipe Luis.
Brazil’s only attempt in the opening half hour came in the 13th when Neymar failed to get a free kick over the Austrian wall.
Several Brazil players seemed to lose their temper as Luiz Gustavo and David Luiz committed rough and unnecessary fouls, while Fernandinho hit out with his elbow against Veli Kavlak, who needed treatment for a bleeding eyebrow.
The five-time world champion finally settled after 30 minutes and had its first shot on goal in the 34th but Austria keeper Almer saved Oscar’s low effort, while David Luiz sent a free kick just over four minutes later.
Dunga took off Neymar in injury time, and the coach acknowledged that his decision allowed Neymar to pass the captain’s armband to Thiago Silva. The former captain had recently complained in Brazilian media that Dunga, who took over after the World Cup, had picked Neymar as the team’s new captain.
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