Libertadores: Paulista beats River Plate

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Midfielder Amaral and striker Jailson scored a goal each and Brazil's Paulista defeated Argentina's River Plate 2-1.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Midfielder Amaral and striker Jailson scored a goal each and Brazil's Paulista defeated Argentina's River Plate 2-1 to keep alive its chances of advancing in the Copa Libertadores. Paulista moved within a point of second-place River in Group 8 with five points, three behind leader Libertad of Paraguay. Ecuador's El Nacional is last with two points. All teams have played four matches each. The top two teams from each of eight groups advances to the second round. Amaral put Paulista ahead in the fifth minute with a shot from long range, blasting a right-footer from more than 35 meters over River Plate goalkeeper German Lux. Jailson added to the lead in the 16th with a header from the six-yard line after a right-flank cross from defender Lucas. River Plate replied with Colombian midfielder Jairo Patino in the 18th after a low right-footed shot that deflected off a defender and beat Paulista goalkeeper Rafael. The match was played in front of more than 15,000 fans at Jayme Cintra stadium in Jundiai, a city about 60 kilometers (35 miles) west of Sao Paulo. River Plate, which routed Paulista 4-1 in Argentina on March 16, was missing some of its regular starters because of injuries, including midfielder Marcelo Gallardo and defender Paulo Ferrari. Playing in its 12th consecutive Copa Libertadores, River Plate could have secured a spot in the next round if it had won. The two-time champion remains winless in its last eight matches on the road this season. Paulista, which was winless in its first four matches, earned the opportunity to play in its first Copa Libertadores by upsetting Fluminense in the Brazilian Cup final last year. The club is 12th in the Sao Paulo state championship with 24 points from 18 matches. Its lone star is Colombian striker Leon Dario Munoz, who was released by Palmeiras after last season. River Plate, Copa Libertadores winner in 1986 and '96, has been struggling in the Argentine Clausura tournament. The team was routed 4-1 by Lanus last Sunday and dropped into a tie for first place with Boca Juniors and Newell's Old Boys. In the next round on April 12, Paulista visits Libertad, while River Plate plays at El Nacional. (AP)

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