Copa Libertadores: Palmeiras, Sao Paulo draw

Palmeiras held defending champion Sao Paulo to 1-1 in the first leg of their all-Brazilian second-round Copa Libertadores match.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Veteran striker Edmundo scored a first-half equalizer and Palmeiras held defending champion Sao Paulo to 1-1 in the first leg of their all-Brazilian second-round Copa Libertadores match on Wednesday. Sao Paulo can advance to the quarterfinals of the Latin American club competition with a scoreless draw in the second leg at its Morumbi stadium next week. The teams, which have seven Brazilian championship titles among them, played even for most of the match at Palmeiras' Palestra Italia stadium. Striker Aloisio put Sao Paulo ahead on a breakaway in the 22nd minute. Palmeiras' Paraguayan defender Carlos Gamarra made a mistake trying to clear a long pass, leaving Aloisio free to fire from inside the area. World Cup veteran Edmundo equalized for Palmeiras with a penalty kick in the 36th, after a handball by Sao Paulo midfielder Souza. Edmundo easily beat Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni with a well-placed right-footer. Aloisio, Sao Paulo's leading scorer in this year's Copa Libertadores with four goals, had a great chance to score the game-winner in the 78th, but his shot from close range was saved by Palmeiras goalkeeper Sergio. The result extended Palmeiras' four-match winless streak this year. Palmeiras - the 1999 Copa champion - had lost the past three matches against Sao Paulo at Palestra Italia. While Sao Paulo was at full strength, Palmeiras had to play without three players because of suspensions: Defender Douglas, striker Enilton and midfielder Alceu. Sao Paulo, seeking back-to-back Copa Libertadores titles for the first time since 1992-93, entered the match heavily favored over the city rival. Palmeiras has never beaten Sao Paulo in seven Copa matches, including the two times the teams met last year. Sao Paulo won 1-0 at Palestra Italia and 2-0 at Morumbi to advance to the quarterfinals. In addition, Palmeiras was commanded by interim coach Marcelo Vilar after Emerson Leao was fired on Monday, two days after a humiliating 6-1 loss to minnow Figueirense in the Brazilian league. In the first stage, Palmeiras finished second in Group 7 with nine points, while Sao Paulo was first in Group 1 with 12 points. Sao Paulo won last year's Copa Libertadores and went on to win its third world title in FIFA's Club World Championship in Japan. Palmeiras, a four-time Brazilian champion, is making its 13th appearance in the Copa Libertadores, the most of any Brazilian team. (AP)