| GEO Sports|
| Brazil struggle to beat North Korea|
| Updated at: 0131 PST, Wednesday, June 16, 2010|
JOHANNESBURG: Five-time World Cup winners Brazil opened their South Africa 2010 campaign with a workmanlike 2-1 win over Asian minnows North Korea on Tuesday.
Despite an attacking line boasting Kaka and Robinho, the South Americans had to work hard to break down dogged defending as the North Koreans worked tirelessly.
After a resilient first half, the North Korean defence finally cracked as Maicon scored from the tightest of angles before Galatasaray's Elano made sure of victory with the second goal in the Group G clash.
Boasting impressive ball skills, the Koreans attacked mainly through Jong Tae Se - dubbed the Wayne Rooney of Asia - who tested Brazil 'keeper Julio Cesar on several occasions and his side was never outplayed.
The North Koreans were finally rewarded for their tireless work with a consolation goal by defender Ji Yun Nam in the 89th minute.
Jong, who sobbed uncontrollably when his country's national anthem was being played, never stopped working and was left with a bloodied left thigh after one tussle with right-back Maicon in front of a 54,331-strong crowd at Ellis Park.
After a quiet opening half an hour, Brazil stepped up the pace and tested North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk, but could not get past him.
When the breakthrough finally came it was a piece of vintage Jogo Bonito - the beautiful game - which left Korean goalkeeper Guk howling into the turf.
Elano played on Maicon who fired in his shot across the goal which curled around the near post from a tight angle on 55 minutes.
The Koreans started to show signs of tiring after conceeding the goal and Pak Choi Jin was stretchered off after 69 minutes clutching his calf.
A defence-splitting pass from Robinho on 72 minutes finally broke the Korean resistence as Elano drilled his shot past Guk only to be immediately replaced by Barcelona's Dani Alves.
With time almost up, Ji finally gave the small group of Korean fans something to cheer about when he smashed his shot past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Brazil next face Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast on Sunday in Johannesburg, while North Korea take on Portugal in Cape Town on Monday.