Brazilian League Roundup, Mar. 28

BY foxsports • March 29, 2010

Defending champion Corinthians got the benefit of Sao Paulo's injury-time own goal for a thrilling 4-3 win Sunday, keeping alive its chances of advancing to the semifinals of the state championship.

In the Rio de Janeiro tournament, strikers Adriano and Vagner Love scored in Flamengo's 2-1 win over America, while Vasco beat Fluminense 3-0.

Corinthians led 2-0 and 3-1 before allowing Sao Paulo to come back at Pacaembu stadium, but clinched the victory with an own goal by Sao Paulo defender Alex Silva two minutes into stoppage time.

The goal came after former Boca Juniors midfielder Yarley dribbled past two defenders on the left edge of the box and sent a powerful cross toward Silva, who headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear it.

Midfielder Elias opened the scoring for Corinthians in the 18th minute with a shot from the top of the area after a set up from striker Ronaldo, and playmaker Danilo added to the lead in the 34th with a well-placed right-footer from inside the box.

Defender Jean put Sao Paulo on the board in the 43rd with a shot from near the penalty spot before veteran left back Roberto Carlos made it 3-1 in the 53rd with a booming, low free kick that fooled Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni.

Midfielder Rodrigo Souto pulled Sao Paulo closer in the 75th with a goal from close range after Corinthians goalkeeper Rafael Santos failed to hold on to a free kick. And Souto netted again with a header in the 83rd after another mistake by Santos, who misplayed a cross from former AS Roma right back Cicinho.

Both teams played a man down from the 38th after Corinthians striker Dentinho and Sao Paulo forward Washington got into a scuffle following a heated ball dispute and were sent off.

The win moved Corinthians to fifth place in the 20-team competition with 29 points from 17 matches, while Sao Paulo dropped to fourth with 30 points. Gremio Prudente beat Portuguesa 2-1 in Sao Paulo to jump to third with 31 points. The top four will advance to the semifinal stage, which begins next month.

Leader Santos, which already has secured a semifinal spot with 41 points, routed Monte Azul 5-0 at Vila Belmiro stadium with midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso scoring twice.

Santos, which has scored 70 goals in 21 matches this season, played without striker Robinho because of a thigh injury.

Santo Andre, which also has clinched a semifinal berth, remains second with 36 points despite a 3-2 loss at Mogi Mirim.

On Saturday, 2008 champion Palmeiras - 10th in the standings - drew Mirassol 1-1 at home to virtually end its hopes of reaching the semifinals. The result extended Palmeiras' winless streak in the tournament to three matches.

Palmeiras president Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, a renowned economist who worked for the Brazilian government in the late 1980s, said Saturday that he has been receiving death threats in the mail, with envelopes containing bullets.

In Rio de Janeiro, Vasco scored three second-half goals to beat rival Fluminense 3-0 and improve its chances of reaching the semifinals of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio state title.

Defender Thiago Martinelli opened the scoring for Vasco at Maracana stadium in the 59th, substitute striker Dodo doubled the lead in the 84th and right back Fagner finished off in the 90th.

Fluminense played a man down from the 79th after midfielder Leandro Euzebio received his second yellow card for a hard foul on Dodo.

Vasco moved to second place in Group B with 12 points from seven matches, one point behind Botafogo.

Fluminense, which played without injured striker Fred, is second in Group A with 16 points, three behind Flamengo, which beat America 2-1 at Engenhao stadium.

Vagner Love scored a 65th-minute winner for Flamengo after midfielder Jones had put America ahead in the fifth and Adriano equalized with a penalty kick in the 24th.

America, which has Romario overseeing the team's football operations, played a man down from the 62nd after midfielder Jones was red carded for a hard foul. America also had defender Gerson sent off in the 84th.

The top two teams from each group will reach the Rio Cup semifinals after next Sunday's final round.

Botafogo, the defending Guanabara Cup champion, will play at Boavista on Monday. The Guanabara Cup champion faces the Rio Cup winner for the overall state title.

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