RIO DE JANEIRO - Ronaldo and Roberto
Carlos were unable to prevent Corinthians from missing out on
the Paulista championship semi-finals while their former Brazil
team mate Juninho retired on a winning note.
Former Middlesbrough and Atletico Madrid playmaker Juninho
took his bow as a player helping Ituano, the club of which he is
chairman, escape relegation by recovering from a two-goal
deficit to beat Portuguesa 3-2 on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old scored his second goal of the season early
in the second half to set up his team's recovery.
"That was my objective. I had stopped playing but I hadn't
quit (the game). That's why I wanted to say goodbye at the club
where I started out," Juninho, who with Ronaldo and Roberto
Carlos helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, told reporters.
"From Thursday I'm going to dedicate myself only to running
Paulista (Sao Paulo state) title holders Corinthians, with
Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos scoring, crushed relegated Rio Claro
5-1 but ended up a point behind Sao Paulo in fifth place.
Leaders Santos, who had already secured their semi-final
berth before their 4-2 win over Sertaozinho with a reserve team,
will meet Sao Paulo, who beat Santo Andre 3-1.
Santo Andre meet Gremio Prudente in the other semi-final
after the two teams from the interior of the state finished
higher than big-name sides Corinthians and Palmeiras from the
Corinthians, in their centenary year, have their aim firmly
set on the South American Libertadores Cup which they have never
"Clearly, we are frustrated and sad but Corinthians' project
continues, it is well founded and we now hope to have a lot of
success in the Libertadores," club president Andres Sanchez told
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