Brazil routed a weak
Haitian team 6-0 Wednesday in an exhibition soccer game aimed at
promoting peace in the Caribbean country.
Ronaldinho scored three times and Roger twice as goals by the World Cup
champions went flying past Haitian goalkeeper Fenelon Gabart. Nilmar had
the other goal, and Brazilian star Ronaldo assisted twice.
The highlight was Ronaldinho's first goal in the 32nd minute. He
dribbled up the middle around and through four defenders, then jumped
over the goalkeeper and tapped the ball into an empty net.
The sellout crowd of about 15,000 chanted ``Haiti, Haiti,'' but many
also cheered when Brazil scored -- at least for the first few goals.
After that they cheered the home side.
The game was billed as a ``Match for Peace'' nearly six months after a
rebellion culminated in the ouster of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. Brazil is heading a U.N. peacekeeping force meant to bring
stability to Haiti.
Cheering Haitians, some waving Brazilian flags, lined the streets to
greet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who later attended
Haitian children posed with players on the field. While the anthems
played some children held a banner reading, ``Social justice is the real
name of peace,'' echoing an earlier comment by Silva. Showers of
confetti floated in the stands.
Security was tight in newly renovated Sylvio Cator Stadium. Police and
about 800 Brazilian troops secured the area, including about 200
soldiers posted inside the stadium.
``Our soccer players are not the only stars in Haiti. You are also
scoring a goal,'' Silva, popularly known as ``Lula,'' said after meeting
troops at a compound next to the Port-au-Prince airport where he planted
Brazil's national tree -- the pau-brasil, or pernambuco.
Silva said it was the first time a Brazilian president has visited Haiti
and said the game ``will become a symbol of our friendship.'' Interim
Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue called the game ``a great gift to
the Haitian people'' from Silva.
The Brazilian leader met interim President Boniface Alexandre before the
game, and officials signed two agreements pledging cooperation in sports
and efforts to strengthen democracy. President Jorge Batlle of Uruguay,
another member of the U.N. force, also was visiting.
In Haiti, where soccer fields are covered by trash and few have the
money for equipment, the sport is still king, even though the national
team has long been weak.
Initially, organizers of the exhibition considered inviting fans to turn
in guns for admission, but the plan was abandoned because of concerns it
could be seen as rewarding criminals.
A small group of Aristide supporters lit tires in the streets of
Port-au-Prince's Bel Air neighborhood Wednesday and shot into the air
during a demonstration calling for Aristide's return. No one was