Botafogo wins Guanabara Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Botafogo netted three second-half goals and rallied 3-1 past America on Sunday to win the Guanabara Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Sao Paulo:

Botafogo netted three second-half goals and rallied 3-1 past America on Sunday to win the Guanabara Cup - the first stage of Rio de Janeiro's state championship. The result automatically qualified Botafogo to play the winner of the second stage, or Rio Cup, for the 2006 state championship, which Botafogo hasn't won since 1997. In the Sao Paulo state tournament, Santos beat Corinthians 1-0 to move to the top of the 20-team standings with 16 points, tied with Noroeste. America, one of Rio's oldest and most prestigious clubs, got off to a fast start at Maracana. Midfielder Robert put the 102-year-old club ahead in the 15th minute with a shot from near the penalty spot. Defender Scheidt started Botafogo's comeback in the 58th with a header off a corner kick, and veteran striker Dodo netted the go-ahead goal in the 67th with a right-footer from the top of the area, hitting the left-upper corner of the net. Midfielder Ze Roberto sealed Botafogo's victory in the 78th, firing a low cross shot from inside the area. Botafogo, the 1995 national champion, was the only top Rio de Janeiro club to advance past the group stage of the Guanabara Cup. Vasco, Flamengo and defending state champion Fluminense were eliminated in the first round. America, coached by 1994 World Cup veteran defender Jorginho, had not finished higher than fourth in the Rio championship in the last 10 years. The club, which won all seven of its Rio titles before 1960, last reached the finals of the Guanabara Cup in 1983, when it lost to Fluminense. In the Sao Paulo state championship, striker Geilson netted a 78th-minute winner to lead Santos over defending national champion Corinthians at Morumbi stadium. The goal came only three minutes after Santos was left with 10 men as defender Luis Alberto was sent off for complaining about a penalty call with the referee. Corinthians lost despite the return of Argentine international Carlos Tevez, who missed the team's 2-1 loss to Sao Caetano on Wednesday after feeling ill and spending a night in the hospital. Also, midfielder Roger came off the bench to play his first match for Corinthians since breaking his leg last October. Defending champion Sao Paulo thrashed Portuguesa Santista 5-0 in Santos to win its fourth match in a row. Midfielder Danilo netted twice for Sao Paulo, which hasn't lost since a 1-0 result against Juventus on Jan. 25. The match marked the return of Uruguayan defender Diego Lugano, who hadn't played for Sao Paulo since Jan. 29 because of a broken nose. (AP)

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