Neymar scores hat-trick, 100th goal with Santos

Neymar surpassed 100 career goals with Santos on Sunday, scoring a hat trick to lead the Brazilian club to the final of the Sao Paulo state championship.

Updated: April 30, 2012 16:58 IST
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Sao Paulo: Neymar surpassed 100 career goals with Santos on Sunday, scoring a hat trick to lead the Brazilian club to the final of the Sao Paulo state championship.

In Rio de Janeiro, Uruguay striker Sebastian "El Loco" Abreu scored twice to lead Botafogo to the Rio Cup final with a 3-1 win over Vasco da Gama.

Santos beat rival Sao Paulo 3-1 to reach its fourth straight final in the Sao Paulo tournament, and will try to win its third title in a row.

Neymar scored his 100th goal by converting a penalty just three minutes into the match at the Morumbi stadium. He then added two others in the 32nd and 78th minutes, surpassing the 101 goals scored by former Santos striker Juary, one of the team's top players in the 1970s.

Neymar, touted as the future of Brazilian football, now is the third highest scorer in the post-Pele era, and the 24th all-time. He is two goals shy from reaching the top two scorers, Joao Paulo and Serginho Chulapa, who are tied with 104 goals.

"It's a great honor to get to 100 goals with this great club," said Neymar, who started in the team's youth squads and turned professional about three years ago. The 102 goals are only as a professional.

In one of his goals on Sunday, Neymar celebrated by running around the corner kick flag, just like Juary used to do during his time.

Neymar surpassed Robinho's tally of 94 goals with Santos in March. The 20-year-old youngster needed 40 fewer games than the AC Milan striker to hit the mark.

Willian Jose scored in the 54th for Sao Paulo, which has been eliminated by Santos the last three years in the semifinals of the traditional state championship.

Santos will now play Guarani, which defeated Campinas city rival Ponte Preta 3-1 to reach the state final for the first time since 1988, when it lost the title to Corinthians. Guarani eliminated Palmeiras in the quarterfinals, while Ponte Preta ousted Brazilian champion Corinthians.

In the final of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio de Janeiro state tournament, Abreu led Botafogo to the victory over Vasco da Gama with a pair of first-half at the Engenhao stadium.

Botafogo will play for the state championship title against Fluminense, the winner of the Guanabara Cup, the competition's first stage.

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