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Copa Libertadores: Sao Paulo defeats Gremio 1-0

Copa Libertadores: Sao Paulo defeats Gremio 1-0

Defender Miranda converted on a corner kick to give three-time champion Sao Paulo a 1-0 victory over Gremio in their opening game of the Copa Libertadores second round on Wednesday.
Sao Paulo, champion in 1992, '93 and 2005 and runner-up last year, needs only a draw in next Wednesday's return match of the home-and-away series to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Gremio, champion in 1983 and '95, came out aggressively, relying on its traditionally strong defense to clog the middle and slow down Sao Paulo's speedy offense. Sao Paulo controlled the ball, but Gremio had more early chances.
At 10 minutes, Gremio striker Tuta set up midfielder Tcheco at the top of the penalty area, but his shot went wide.
Five minutes later, midfielder Diego Souza raced up the left side and sent a testing shot on goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, but the Sao Paulo captain made the save.
Sao Paulo looked sloppy and consistently missed passes. Midfielder Richarlyson gave the ball away in the 25th, and Diego Souza tested Rogerio Ceni with a long-range shot that the 'keeper barely tipped wide.
Two minutes from halftime, Sao Paulo midfielder Souza lofted a free kick into the penalty area, but striker Aloisio's header skimmed over the crossbar, and the half ended 0-0.
Sao Paulo turned up the pressure in the second half, and wingback Jadilson tested Gremio 'keeper Saja in the opening minute. Minutes later, Hugo took a feed from Josue and fired to the corner, forcing Saja to tap the ball wide.
Souza took the corner kick in the 58th, and Dagoberto set up Miranda for a blistering shot into the left corner to make it 1-0.
Gremio coach Mano Menezes sent in former AC Milan and Sao Paulo striker Amoroso to fire up the offense, but the 32-year-old striker had little impact.
Souza nearly widened the score for Sao Paulo, taking a pass behind the Gremio defense and trying to chip the ball over Saja, but the Gremio 'keeper tapped the ball wide in the 68th.
Minutes later, Souza sent a crossing pass to Dagoberto who whipped around and volleyed the shot home. But the goal was called back for offsides, and Sao Paulo was content to run down the clock.