Classic Match | Brazil Masters 2004

ON the 30th of May 2004 St James Park was turned into a carnival of colour as the Brazilian Masters rolled into town to celebrate the Centenary of Exeter City Football Club.

The occasion also marked the 90th anniversary of Exeter’s historic trip to South America, where the Grecian’s lined up against the Seleção in what is recognised as the first match in Brazil’s long and successful football history.

In acknowledgement and respect to Exeter’s role in their footballing heritage, the Brazilians were said to be honoured to mark the anniversaries of each side with a belated return trip to Devon, and brought with them a number of famous faces including World Cup winners Branco, Jorginho, Mazinho, and Dunga

With dancers and drummers entertaining the crowd, and the ground rising as one to respect the national anthems, the match had the feel of an international fixture. The visitors then displayed their dominance on the pitch, having almost all of the possession in the first half, although it was City who almost broke the deadlock first when Sean Devine sent an effort just over the crossbar.

Then, just before the whistle, Chris Todd was adjudged to have brought down Silas in the box, and Careca, who had spent much of his career partnering Diego Maradona at Napoli, duly dispatched the resulting spot kick past the stretch of keeper Martin Rice.

Exeter made a host of changes at the break and began to find their stride in the second half as some of the Brazilians tired. However, there was plenty of jogo bonito on display as the South Americans, who showed that class truly is permanent, treated the crowd to a master-class in samba-skills.

Exeter weren’t to be outdone in the skill stakes themselves and crafted a number of good chances, the most spectacular of which was Captain Glenn Cronin’s acrobatic scissor-kick, which narrowly failed to test Wagner in the Brazilian goal.

In the end it would be the visitor’s that claimed the victory, however the match had provided City with the kind of footballing lesson that could be hard to find in the lower leagues of English football.

Cronin, who swapped shirts with Dunga after the game, stated after the game that ‘they Just kept the ball for fun, showed us how to play. Dunga walked through the whole game’. For Dunga himself, it was an emotional exercise: ‘When you put your shirt on you forget your age,’ he said, and while it was his side that won the match, the former World Cup winning captain also added that ‘football’s the winner’.


Final Score: 0-1 (Careca)

Exeter City (442): Rice (Bittner h-t); Clay (O’Sullivan h-t), Todd (Sawyer h-t), Seaborne (Villis h-t), Moxey (Jeannin h-t); McConnell, Cronin, Taylor (Ampadu h-t), Sheldon; Devine (Flack h-t), Canham (Afful h-t).

Brazil Masters (352): Wagner; Ricardo Rocha, Goncalves, Torres; Jorginho (Paulo Roberto 80), Silas, Dnga, Valber, Mazinho; Paulo Sergio (Nelsinho 72), Careca (Mauricinho 87).

Man of the match: Dunga

Attendance: 6,000+


Written by: Will Barrett

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