RIO DE JANEIRO - Robinho marked his return
to Santos with a brilliant backheeled winner in their 2-1 away
win over Sao Paulo in the Paulista championship on Sunday.
The Brazil striker, on loan for six months at his first club
from Manchester City, came on as a substitute 13 minutes after
halftime and with five minutes to go backheeled Wesley's pass
past goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni.
Robinho, looking to cement a place in Brazil's World Cup
side, had already served notice his skills were undimmed despite
a disappointing spell at City, when his shot at the end of a
fine one-two with fellow striker Neymar was saved at full
stretch by the keeper.
"I lacked a bit more physical condition and rapport with
those kids who play so well but thank God I could score a wee
goal," Robinho told reporters.
Teenager Neymar, seen as the new Robinho since his emergence
at Santos, put them ahead with a penalty in the 38th minute
after midfielder Arouca was brought down by Brazil defender
The home side equalised nine minutes after Robinho had come
on with substitute Roger's first touch, a header from a cross by
Marcelinho, in the 'classico' in the Sao Paulo state
Santos coach Dorival Junior tempered the euphoria that has
gripped fans since Robinho's return to the club he helped win
the 2002 and 2004 Brazilian titles, starting him on the bench
for his first match on home soil after five years in Europe.
Robinho, who cost City a British record 32.5 million pounds
when he moved from Real Madrid in 2008, played as his team's
main striker, not his usual position, scoring at the end of a
quick counter-attack to put Santos top of the standings with 16
points from seven matches.
"It's a good start, to resume on the right foot was all I
wanted. The team winning, me playing well and scoring was
marvellous. Now I have to give continuity to the work," Robinho
"I know my potential but I was anxious to play, for things
to turn out right. It was great.
"If we can improve our rapport and I can get fitter, we've
got a lot to give Santos because these kids play very good
In the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) championship, another of the
many state tournaments that open the Brazilian season, lanky
Uruguay striker Sebastian Abreu scored a hat-trick of headers as
Botafogo beat Resende 5-2.
The victory puts Botafogo in the semi-finals of the first
round of the championship with city's other big clubs, Flamengo,
Fluminense and Vasco da Gama.
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