Adriano hands Sao Paulo vital derby win

April 14, 2008

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 13 (Reuters) - Striker Adriano scored two goals, though one appeared to be with his hand, to set Sao Paulo on their way to a 2-1 win over arch-rivals Palmeiras on Sunday.

On loan from Italy's Inter Milan, Adriano's goals for the Brazilian champions ended Palmeiras's 10-match winning streak.

Sao Paulo went ahead in the 11th minute of the Paulista championship semi-final, first leg with one of the most controversial goals of the season.

Jorge Wagner crossed from the left, Adriano dived to meet the ball and television replays showed that it hit his outstretched hand and flew into the net.

'It scraped my head, whether or not it hit my hand is part of football,' said the player, known as 'the Emperor', at halftime.

At the end of the game, he conceded: 'It was the hand of the Emperor.'

There were no arguments about his second goal in the 47th minute as Adriano powered clear of the Palmeiras defence and fired the ball past goalkeeper Marcos for his 11th goal of the championship.

Alex Mineiro pulled one back by converting a 73rd minute penalty for Vanderley Luxemburgo's team, who had won their previous 10 games in all competitions.

Ponte Preta beat Guaratingueta 1-0 in the other tie.

The Paulista is the largest of the state championships that kick off the Brazilian season.

Cruzeiro squandered a 4-1 lead as they were held 4-4 by Ituiutaba in their Minas Gerais championship semi-final first leg while Atletico Mineiro beat Tupi 3-2 in the other tie.

An injury-time goal from Alex gave 10-man Internacional a 1-0 win at Caxias in the Gaucho championship semi-finals after they had Marcao sent off in the first half.

In Rio de Janeiro's Carioca championship, which uses a different format, Botafogo and Fluminense reached the final of the second stage.

Botafogo beat Flamengo 3-0 while Fluminense beat Botafogo 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the two one-off semi-finals.

The eventual winners of the second stage meet Flamengo, who won the first stage, in the championship final.