Alexa

Ronaldo scores, Corinthians stay in contention

Ronaldo scores, Corinthians stay in contention

Ronaldo scored a late goal as defending champion Corinthians beat Ituano 2-0 on Sunday to remain in semifinals contention in the Sao Paulo state championship.
Elsewhere in Brazilian competition, Robinho also scored for Santos in the Sao Paulo tournament, while Flamengo, Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco reached the semifinals of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship.
Ronaldo sealed Corinthians' win with a goal from close range in the 86th minute into an open net after a cross from midfielder Tcheco.
It was Ronaldo's second goal in as many matches, including his contribution in the 2-1 win over Paraguay's Cerro Porteno in the Copa Libertadores on Thursday.
Midfielder Jucilei had opened the scoring for Corinthians just five minutes before Ronaldo's goal in Sao Jose do Rio Preto with a header from just outside the six-yard box.
"We knew it was going to be a hard match, but we took advantage of our chances at the end," Ronaldo said.
With one round left before the semifinals, Corinthians are in fifth place with 32 points, one behind Sao Paulo and two behind third-place Gremio Prudente.
Santos maintained the competition lead after a 3-1 win over Sao Caetano in Sao Caetano do Sul, reaching 44 points. Robinho, who hadn't played in four matches because of a muscle injury, scored the team's third goal in a second-half breakaway.
Second-place Santo Andre, which has already secured a semifinal spot, played to a 1-1 draw at Rio Claro on Saturday to reach 37 points.
Sao Paulo routed seventh-place Botafogo 5-0 courtesy of a pair of goals by midfielder Hernanes at Morumbi stadium. Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni missed a 13th-minute penalty kick when the match was 0-0.
Gremio Prudente, which changed its name after moving from the city of Barueri to President Prudente, moved into third after a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Bragantino in Braganca Paulista.
Sixth-place Portuguesa improved to 31 points after beating Rio Branco 2-0 in Americana on Saturday and also remains in contention for the semis.
On Saturday, 2008 champion Palmeiras had a scoreless draw with Oeste in heavy rain at Palestra Italia stadium in Sao Paulo, dropping to 10th in the 20-team standings.
Monte Azul, Sertaozinho and Rio Branco have already been relegated to the second division. Bragantino, Rio Claro, Ituano, Mirassol and Paulista are trying to avoid being the fourth team demoted.
In Rio de Janeiro, the state's top teams advanced to the semifinals stage of the Rio Cup.
Vasco needed a 78th-minute winner from veteran striker Dodo to beat Duque de Caxias 4-3 in Volta Redonda and secure its berth. It finished second in Group B, one point ahead of America, which has former striker Romario overseeing its football operations.
Botafogo, which drew Bangu 2-2 at Engenhao stadium, had already clinched first place in the group.
In Group A, defending Rio champion Flamengo topped the group after a 3-0 win over Friburguense in Moca Bonita, while Fluminense was second after a 3-1 win over Macae at Maracana stadium.
Botafogo, which won the Guanabara Cup, the first stage of the state tournament, will face Fluminense in the Rio Cup semifinals, while Flamengo will play Vasco.
The winner of the Rio Cup meets the winner of the Guanabara Cup for the state title. Botafogo can automatically clinch the state trophy if it also wins the Rio Cup.
In the Rio Grande do Sul state tournament, two-time national champion Gremio beat Juventude 2-1 in Caxias do Sul to extend its winning streak to 15 matches. It has won all of its matches since a 1-1 draw against Sao Luiz on Feb. 3.