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Ronaldo Paves Way for Brazilian Win

By Peter Muello
Associated Press
Tuesday, June 16, 1998; 5:07 p.m. EDT

 Ronaldo (left) looks on as teammate Bebeto celebrates scoring Brazil's third goal.
(Luca Bruno/Associated Press)
NANTES, France — Ronaldo scored his first World Cup goal and Brazil became the first team into the second round Tuesday by cruising past Morocco 3-0.

The two-time FIFA player of the year, who was on the Brazilian squad that won a record fourth World Cup title in 1994 but didn't get on the field, drove the ball home from the edge of the penalty area for a simple strike in the ninth minute after taking a pass from Rivaldo.

It was Rivaldo who made it 2-0 in first-half injury time with a close-range tap-in off Cafu's right wing cross. Then Ronaldo set up the third goal for Bebeto four minutes into the second half.

The result meant Brazil, already a 2-1 winner over Scotland, has six points from two games and can't be caught in Group A. Brazil was also the first team into Round 2 in 1994.

Leonardo thought he had given Brazil the lead when he fired home in the second minute, but was thwarted by an offside flag. No matter.

The 21-year-old Ronaldo was all alone when he took a forward pass by Rivaldo. He sent the ball home from 18 yards.

There were anxious looks from the Brazilian bench when Ronaldo went down after a late, high tackle by Said Chiba. But he resumed play after brief treatment.

Errors began to creep into the Brazilian midfield and defense as halftime neared. Bebeto and team captain Dunga even got into an argument after one mistake gave the Moroccans a free kick just outside of Brazil's box.

But the second goal ended Morocco's chances. Cafu broke down the right wing and crossed low for the unmarked Rivaldo to run into the ball and tap it home from short range.

The third goal was a result of Ronaldo grabbing a free ball wide on the left and slipping past two defenders with a magical change of pace and mesmerizing footwork.

He drew goalkeeper Driss Benzekri out and pulled the ball across to Bebeto to slide it into an unguarded net.

Morocco, which tied Norway 2-2 in its opener, remains alive for the second round, as do the Norwegians and Scots, who tied 1-1 earlier in the day.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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