Neymar double guides Santos to Paulista title
Brazil striker Neymar scored a brace of goals to steer Santos to a 4-2 win over Guarani as they clinched the Paulista championship title on Sunday.
The 20-year-old converted a penalty for Santos’s second goal and sidefooted the third from the edge of the penalty area as South American champions Santos won the two-leg final 7-2 on aggregate.
Neymar, who finished with 20 goals in the competition, was also involved in the first and fourth goals scored by Alan Kardec as Pele’s former club won the title for the third year running in a match marred by crowd violence.
Television pictures showed Guarani fans fighting with truncheon-wielding police on the terraces during the first half, although media reports said nobody was injured.
The Paulista, played in the state of Sao Paulo, is the most prestigious of the plethora of state championships which kick off the Brazilian season.
Critics say the tournaments, which pre-date the growth of air travel in Brazil, are now out-dated and clutter up the calendar.
The Brazilian championship, which features 20 teams playing each other twice, has to be squeezed into little more than six months to accommodate them.
Rio de Janeiro’s Engenhao stadium was only around half full as Fluminense clinched the Carioca tournament with a 1-0 win over Botafogo, completing a 5-1 aggregate win.
Atletico Mineiro won the Minas Gerais state championship, beating America 3-0 to complete a 4-1 aggregate win. Guilherme broke the deadlock before Bernard scored either side of halftime for the Roosters.
Former South American champions Internacional came from behind to beat Caxias 2-1 and win the Gaucho championship final 3-2 on aggregate.