Sao Paulo win again in Brazil, Inter held

January 22, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Brazilian champions Sao Paulo continued their winning start to the new season by beating Ituano 1-0 on Sunday.

Former Brazil international Junior scored the only goal when he rifled home a left-foot shot in the second half of the match in the Paulista championship, the biggest of the regional tournaments that kick off the Brazilian season.

Sao Paulo have a maximum six points from their two games alongside Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and surprise package Noroeste.

Corinthians won 4-2 at Sao Bento despite twice being pegged back.

New signings Jailson and Christian scored at the start of each half for Corinthians but Sao Bento, playing their second game under former Colombia international Freddy Rincon, hit back each time as defender Cleber and striker Roberto Santos scored from set pieces.

Jailson put Corinthians back ahead in the 68th minute and Marcelo Mattos added a fourth from a penalty.

Palmeiras won 2-1 at Rio Branco-Americana with goals from Chile midfielder Jorge Valdivia and an Osmar penalty while Santos beat Sao Caetano 3-0.

Vanderlei Luxemburgo's team raced to a 2-0 lead in 21 minutes with goals by Pedro and Fabiano. Cleber Santana added the third in the 65th minute.

World club champions Internacional, playing their first competitive game since their shock win over European champions Barcelona in Japan in December, were held to a goalless draw at Novo Hamburgo.

Inter fielded a reserve team as they kicked off their campaign in the Gaucho (Rio Grande do Sul state) championship.

Paulo Autuori made a winning start to his third stint in charge of Cruzeiro as they won 2-1 at Rio Branco-Andradas in their opening match in the Mineiro (Minas Gerais state) championship.

The former Peru coach, who spent last year with Kashima Antlers in Japan, won the 1997 Libertadores Cup in one of his previous spells with the Belo Horizonte club.