MATURIN, Venezuela, July 1 - Robinho scored a hat-trick as defending
champions Brazil, beaten by Mexico in their opening Copa America game, bounced
back to beat Chile 3-0 at the unfinished Monumental stadium on Sunday.
Robinho converted a controversial penalty amid furious Chile protests in the
36th minute and added two more in the last 10 minutes as Chile ran out of steam.
Both teams have three points from two games in Group B.
The 52,000-capacity stadium, built in less than one year, was ruled fit to
stage the games even though it was clearly not ready.
The area around the arena was a sea of mud strewn with building materials and
piles of debris. Inside, dust covered the seats and more debris was piled into
Despite the result, Brazil were far from convincing for most of the game and
spared by poor Chilean finishing in the second half.
Brazil struggled to find a way through Chile's packed defence early on and
Robinho, apart from a couple of trademark stepovers, saw little of the ball.
But they were gifted a chance in the 36th minute when Gilberto's cross from
the left was comfortably held by goalkeeper Claudio Bravo but the referee gave a
penalty, apparently for pushing.
Robinho calmly scored with a low shot which just eluded Bravo's outstretched
Chile came out fighting after halftime and striker Humberto Suazo was close
from a free kick.
Shortly afterwards, the shaven-headed Suazo was put clean through but delayed
and, by the time he shot, there were three Brazilian defenders on the line to
clear the ball.
Jorge Valdivia wasted another chance when he shot straight at a defender from
Robinho finished the Chileans off in the 84th minute when he latched onto
Vanger Love's pass and chipped over Bravo.
Three minutes later, he collected the ball 40 metres from goal, dribbled past
two defenders and scored with a shot into the corner.