RIO DE JANEIRO - Cruzeiro appointed
former South Africa coach Joel Santana on Sunday after Cuca
resigned following a dismal start to the Brazilian championship.
The club from Belo Horizonte have not won any of their five
matches, including Saturday's 1-1 draw with city rivals
America-MG, in the championship having finished runners-up last
year under Cuca.
Cruzeiro said Cuca, who had taken charge a year ago, handed
in his resignation on Sunday morning despite the club's wish for
him to stay on.
Santana, who quit Botafogo in March after 14 months with the
Rio team, will be officially unveiled as Cruzeiro coach on
Monday, they said on their website.
"The coach's debut will be on Saturday against Coritiba at
the Aligator's Arena in Sete Lagoas in the sixth round of the
Brazilian championship," Cruzeiro added.
The experienced 62-year-old Santana coached South Africa in
2008 and 2009 but was sacked nine months before the country
hosted last year's World Cup.
Sao Paulo remained top of the standings on a maximum 15
points with a 2-0 away win over Ceara after captain Rogerio Ceni
saved a penalty and 19-year-old Brazil midfielder Lucas scored a
Ceni's penalty save from Osvaldo midway through the first
half ended Ceara's dominance and Marlos opened Sao Paulo's
account before halftime.
Lucas, in his last match before leaving for Argentina with
the Brazil squad for next month's Copa America, dribbled past
Ceara Fernando Henrique in the 67th for the second goal.
Sao Paulo's fine start to the championship will be put to
the test in the coming weeks while they are deprived of Lucas
until late July and four young players picked by Brazil for the
Under-20 World Cup in Colombia from July 29 to Aug. 20.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's Palmeiras are four points behind after
a 5-0 rout of Avai with strikers Kleber and Luan scoring twice
Flamengo, with an uninspired Ronaldinho who came off to boos
during the second half, held on for a 0-0 draw with Botafogo
despite playing with 10 men for more than an hour after
Argentine midfielder Dario Bottinelli earned a second booking
for diving in the box.
Champions Fluminense lost their second consecutive match
under new coach Abel Braga, a 1-0 upset at home to promoted
Bahia on Saturday. Fluminense have six points from two wins.
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