Corinthians beats Palmeiras 2-1 in Brazil

TALES AZZONI AP Sports Writer Published:

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Corinthians scored two goals early in the second half to end Palmeiras' 21-match unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win in the Sao Paulo state championship on Sunday. Before the match, fan violence left one dead and three seriously injured.

In the Rio de Janeiro state tournament, Vasco da Gama was held to a 1-1 draw by Resende, while Flamengo, Fluminense and Botafogo won their matches on Saturday.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's Palmeiras went ahead with a long-range shot by former Real Betis midfielder Marcos Assuncao in the 18th minute, but Corinthians rallied with quick goals in the first seven minutes of the second half. Paulinho equalized in the 50th and the Brazilian champion moved ahead in the 52nd with an own goal by Palmeiras midfielder Marcio Araujo.

Sao Paulo took the lead from Palmeiras in the 20-team standings by beating Mirassol 1-0 for its seventh straight win. Defender Rodolfo scored Sao Paulo's winner in Mirassol in the 64th.

Sao Paulo reached 34 points from 15 matches, tied with Corinthians, but it is ahead on goal difference. Palmeiras is stuck with 32 points, two more than Santos. The top eight teams will advance to the playoff round.

Palmeiras opened the scoring at the Pacaembu stadium with Assuncao's right-footer from outside the area. The ball deflected off a defender and fooled Corinthians goalkeeper Julio Cesar, striking the crossbar before going in.

Palmeiras was mostly in control, but Corinthians rallied with goals from set pieces just after the halftime. Paulinho scored from close range after a ball deflected in front of net, and Araujo tipped the ball into his own goal after another cross into the area.

Palmeiras, Brazil's most successful club with eight national titles along with Santos, hadn't lost a match since Nov. 6.

"We know the fans didn't want to lose this one, but it happened," Scolari said. "We have to keep working to stay near the top of the standings going into the final round."

Before the match, fans from both teams were involved in a confrontation involving about 500 people, according to police, and 21-year-old Palmeiras fan Andre Alves was killed after being shot in the head. Another fan was shot in the hip and two other were also hospitalized in serious condition.

Police had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to halt the confrontation and at least four people were detained. Authorities were investigating reports the fight was set up ahead of time on social media networks.

Earlier in the week, police prohibited fan groups from Campinas city rivals Guarani and Ponte Preta from attending their teams' matches because of fighting that led to the death of a fan. The ban started on Saturday, when Guarani drew Ponte Preta 1-1.

Also Sunday, defending champion Santos, led by Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso, beat Bragantino 2-0 with goals by Alan Kardec and Borges at the Vila Belmiro stadium. Santos played with an extra man from the 53rd because Bragantino defender Jean Pablo was sent off.

In the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship, Vasco was not able to get past a 1-1 home draw with Resende. Striker Alecsandro missed a penalty shot in the 58th but netted the equalizer for Vasco in the 83rd at Sao Januario stadium.

On Saturday, former CSKA striker Vagner Love scored two goals as Flamengo defeated Volta Redonda 4-2 at the Raulino de Oliveira stadium. Flamengo had midfielder Luiz Antonio sent off in the first half, and two players from Volta Redonda were shown red cards in the final minutes.

Striker Fred scored both goals in Fluminense's 2-0 win over Bonsucesso in Moca Bonita, while Fellype Gabriel and forward Jobson scored a goal each in Botafogo's 2-0 win over Duque de Caxias at the Engenhao stadium.

The top two teams in each of the two groups will advance to the Rio Cup semifinals. Botafogo and Flamengo are ahead in Group A, while Bangu and Vasco lead Group B, ahead of Fluminense, which won the Guanabara Cup and has already secured a chance to play for the overall state title against the Rio Cup winner.

The Brazilian league won't start until May, and regional championships are played in the first months of the year in Brazil, which does not follow the European calendar.

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