Sao Paulo held to goalless draw

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:05 IST

Sao Paulo were held to a goalless draw at home to Ponte Preta in the first round of the 2004 Paulista (Sao Paulo State) Championship.

Sao Paulo held to goalless draw

Sao Paulo:

Mighty Sao Paulo were held to a goalless draw at home to Ponte Preta in the first round of the 2004 Paulista (Sao Paulo State) Championship. Although Sao Paulo had by far the better chances throughout the match, Ponte Preta rode their luck and held out to claim a hard earned point. Sao Paulo entertained Ponte Preta in a repeat of the Paulista final of 1981, when the home side won 2-0. A female referee would have been unthinkable back then, but this is 2004 and the experienced Silvia Regina de Oliveira was in charge. The Sao Paulo faithful have less than fond memories of this official. The last time Oliveira refereed at the Morumbai she had the temerity to send off Sao Paulo's star striker, Luis Fabiano, for dissent. But everyone was on their best behaviour for this first round match in the Paulista and it was Luis Fabiano himself who had a hand in creating the first chance of the night. Efforts in vain Gustavo Nery's fierce drive rebounded off the woodwork in the eleventh minute. Sixteen minutes later, Fabio Simplicio was denied by Ponte Preta goalkeeper Lauro after being put through by Grafite. Lauro was in for a busy time of it as Sao Paulo attacked his goal from all angles, but he would not have guessed that one of his own defenders would come nearest to opening the scoring. On the stroke of half time Alexandre would have deflected a Sao Paulo corner into his own net but for Lauro's agility in clawing the ball away. It was a frustrating evening for Sao Paulo's new coach Cuca, who was in the hot seat for the first time in a competitive match. Ponte Preta were defending stoutly and, crucially, had luck on their side. With fifteen minutes left Cicinho's shot was tipped away by Lauro following an interchange between Grafite and Luis Fabiano. Then in the 87th minute Velber had a free header inside the Ponte Preta penalty area. It flew narrowly wide, it proved to be the last chance and the visitors had earned themselves an unlikely point. Sao Paulo will have to improve in front of goal if they are to repeat their success of 1981 or their most recent titles in 1998 and 2000. (AP)

Topics : Football
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