Corinthians hold Sao Paulo to draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Leaders Sao Paulo drew nil-nil with nine-man Corinthians in the Brazilian championship on Sunday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Leaders Sao Paulo drew nil-nil with nine-man Corinthians in the Brazilian championship on Sunday. The visitors were reduced to ten men after four minutes when Cesar kicked out at Sao Paulo's Souza, and nine after just 27 minutes when Eduardo Ratinho was sent off for a tackle on Thiago Ribeiro. However, they managed to hold on to scrape a point from the match. Sao Paulo remain top of the standings with 43 points, four ahead of second-placed Gremio. Low position The visitors started the match in a lowly 16th place with 26 points, 16 less than their hosts. They were also without Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez following their transfers the end of August to English Premiership side West Ham. However it was infact the visitors who started the brighter of the two teams. Magrao confidently struck the ball towards goal with less than a minute on the clock, and it only just went wide of the post. After four minutes they received a gift from their opponents when Cesar was shown a straight red card for a crude kick at Sao Paulo's Souza. Seven minutes later the home side had the perfect opportunity to take advantage. Great play Edcarlos Santos produced a great header from a cross from Thiago Ribeiro but it drifted wide of the post. In the 27th minute there was further drama when Corinthians were reduced to nine men. Eduardo Ratinho was sent off for this tackle on Thiago. The Corinthians players and coach remonstrated with the referee but he would not change his mind. The decision caused some problems in the crowd, and riot police made their way to the stands as a precaution. Denying save Despite being down to single figures on the pitch men Corinthians did their utmost to stay in the match. In first half injury time Rafael Moura was denied by a great save from Rogerio Ceni - the goalkeeper clearly displaying his annoyance at some poor defending by his team. Sao Paulo tried to make the most of their advantage in the second half and had several good chances to take the lead. Thirteen minutes after the restart Lenilson Batista de Souza produced a great header that just bounced off the crossbar and away to safety. Fifteen minutes later substitute Danilo Gabriel de Andrade tried his luck, although he too was also denied by the woodwork, this time the post. The home side were piling on the pressure but could not break the deadlock. Lenilson came close again with around 12 minutes remaining but could only watch as the ball trickled past the far post. The match remained goalless to the final whistle, meaning Sao Paulo now have 43 points after 22 matches and remain top, four points above second placed Gremio. Corinthians now have 27 points and move up one place to 15th. (AP)