Santos reaches semis in Sao Paulo state tournament
SAO PAULO (AP) -Three-time defending champion Santos beat Palmeiras on penalties to advance to the semifinals of the Sao Paulo state tournament on Saturday.
After a 1-1 draw, Santos converted all four of its attempts in the shootout at Vila Belmiro Stadium, while Palmeiras strikers Kleber and Leandro both missed from the spot.
That kept the hosts on track for their fourth straight title in the regional tournament.
Argentines Ezequiel Miralles and Walter Montillo scored for Santos in the shootout, as did Cicero and Rene Junior.
"We didn't deserve to lose this match,'' said Santos goalkeeper Rafael, who stopped both shots by the Palmeiras strikers. "But we haven't won anything yet, there's still a long way to go.''
Cicero opened the scoring in the 13th minute by deflecting a shot by Neymar, and Kleber equalized with a header in the 84th.
Santos will now play Mogi Mirim, which scored five second-half goals in a 6-0 routing of Botafogo later Saturday. Striker Henrique scored three goals.
On Sunday, Sao Paulo hosts Penapolense and Alexandre Pato's Corinthians faces Ponte Preta in Campinas. Ponte Preta eliminated Corinthians at the same stage last year.
In Rio de Janeiro, Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf and Uruguay midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro scored a goal each to help Botafogo - the more famous Rio version - beat Resende 5-0 and advance to the final of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the state championship. The other semifinal will be played between Fluminense and Volta Redonda on Sunday.
Botafogo won the Guanabara Cup earlier this year, the tournament's first stage, and can automatically secure the overall state championship if it also wins the Rio Cup. Rio de Janeiro powerhouses Flamengo and Vasco da Gama were eliminated in the group stage.
In the semifinals of the Rio Grande do Sul state championship, Argentine striker Hernan Barcos scored Gremio's goal in the 1-1 draw at Juventude, but Gremio was eliminated on penalties after Chile striker Eduardo Vargas missed his shot from the spot. Internacional, led Argentine midfielder Andres D'Alessandro and Uruguay striker Diego Forlan, will play Veranopolis in the other semifinal on Sunday.
In Minas Gerais, Ronaldinho was rested but Atletico Mineiro was still able to defeat Tombense 2-0 in the first leg of the semifinals. Cruzeiro and Villa Nova begin their series on Sunday.
Regional championships are played in the first few months of the year in Brazil, and the national league starts in May.
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