Latin America

Corinthians reach semi-finals

Alexandrebn Pato was on the scoresheet during Corinthians' win against Ponte Preta.
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Alexandre Pato and Peru striker Paolo Guerrero scored in the second half to help Corinthians defeat Ponte Preta 4-0 and advance to the semifinals of the Sao Paulo state championship on Sunday.

Corinthians will face Sao Paulo, which edged Penapolense 1-0 later Sunday. Three-time champion Santos edged out Palmeiras on penalties on Saturday, setting up a semifinal match against Mogi Mirim, which trounced Botafogo 6-0.

In Rio de Janeiro, striker Rafael Sobis scored two goals as Fluminense beat Volta Redonda 4-1 to reach the final of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship. Fluminense will play Botafogo, which thrashed Resende 5-0 on Saturday.

Corinthians revenged its loss to Ponte Preta in the quarterfinals of last year's tournament by scoring two goals in each half at Moises Lucarelli stadium in Campinas.

Romarinho netted in the 32nd minute and Emerson added to the lead in the 38th, then Guerrero converted a penalty in the 56th and Pato finished the scoring in the 89th by dribbling the goalkeeper before Brazil striker found the net from inside the area.

Ponte Preta played a man down from the 58th after midfielder Baraka was sent off for stepping on an opponent.

Sao Paulo, which led the tournament's first stage, beat Penapolense at the Morumbi Stadium thanks to an own goal by defender Jailton in the 72nd.

In Volta Redonda, Sobis scored in the 12th and 52nd minutes for Fluminense, while there were goals from Wellington Nem in the 31st and Thiago Neves in the 79th. Volta Redonda's lone goal was scored by Ze Augusto in the 13th.

It's still unclear where the final against Botafogo will be played because Engenhao stadium remains closed due to a faulty roof and the Maracana - which reopened on Saturday after nearly three years of renovations - is being prepared for the Confederations Cup in June.

Botafogo, led by Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf and Uruguay striker Nicolas Lodeiro, won the Guanabara Cup, the tournament's first stage, and can automatically capture the overall state title if it beats Fluminense in the Rio Cup final.

In the Rio Grande do Sul state championship, midfielder Willians scored in the 25th to help Internacional beat Veranopolis 1-0 and reach the tournament's final. Veranopolis had defender Edson Borges sent off in the 64th and midfielder Fininho dismissed in second-half injury time.

Internacional, led by Uruguay striker Diego Forlan and Argentine midfielder Andres D'Alessandro, will play the final against Juventude, which eliminated Gremio on penalties on Saturday. Argentine striker Hernan Barcos scored Gremio's goal in the 1-1 draw in regulation time, but Chile striker Eduardo Vargas missed his shot from the spot in the shootout.

In Minas Gerais state, Cruzeiro thrashed Villa Nova 4-0 in the first leg of the semifinals after two goals each by striker Everton Ribeiro and playmaker Diego Souza. In the other semifinal match, Atletico Mineiro defeated Tombense 2-0 on Saturday despite resting former two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho.

Regional championships are played in the first few months of the year in Brazil, and the national league starts in May.

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