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By ESPN Staff
Dec 5, 2005

Veteran Romario finishes as Brazil top scorer

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Irrepressible striker Romario finished as the Brazilian championship's top scorer on Sunday after converting two penalties in Vasco da Gama's 3-1 win over Parana.

The 39-year-old, who won the World Cup with Brazil eleven years ago, took his tally to 22 in the competition, finishing one ahead of Paysandu's Robson.

'Everyone knows I'm close to ending my career and it's gratifying to win a personal title at my age,' he said. 'I'm playing because I'm in good enough shape to play.'

'I feel at home at Vasco', added Romario, who was also the competition's top scorer in 2001 at the age of 35.

Romario appeared to have extended his career for too long when he was sacked by Fluminense last year after an injury-plagued season in which he was criticised for his much-publicised privileges.

However, he returned to form this year after returning for a third stint at Vasco, the club where he began his career.

Romario's team mates appeared to be determined to help him and set up a flurry of chances, several of which went begging.

Romario missed two open goals and wasted another easy chance in the first half, but opened his account by sending Parana goalkeeper Flavio the wrong way from a 16th minute penalty.

The former PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona striker added his second with a twice-taken penalty after halftime.

Romario's first effort was saved, and although he followed up to score from the rebound, the referee had already judged that Flavio had moved and blown for a retake.

Romario then converted second time around while Flavio was sent off for dissent as Parana players surrounded the referee to protest.

He had the ball in net for a third time shortly afterwards but it was disallowed for offside.