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May, 1, 2006

Protesting Vasco still manage Fluminense draw

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 1 (Reuters) - Vasco da Gama wore black armbands and fielded seven reserves against local rivals Fluminense on Sunday after being banned from using their own stadium for the game.

Vasco were furious when the venue was moved by a court decision made late on Friday, less than 48 hours before the kick-off for the Brazilian championship match.

The court accepted the arguments of the public attorney's office who claimed that Vasco's own Sao Januario stadium was not suitable for a derby match and switched the game to the Maracana.

Controversial Vasco president Eurico Miranda threatened on Saturday that his team would boycott the game but backed down.

Despite their below-strength line-up, Vasco held out for a 1-1 draw.

Abedi put them ahead in the 33rd minute and Tuta saved Fluminense's blushes and their unbeaten record by equalising in the 63rd minute.

'Flu' are second in the table with seven points from three games.

The weekend was also marked by a freak incident in Fortaleza's 2-1 win over Sao Caetano.

Fortaleza team mates Igor and Bechara collided with each other as they both attempted to take a free-kick and Igor was taken off injured.

SANTOS TOP

Vanderlei Luxemburgo's Santos went top on goal difference from Fluminense after coming from behind to beat Palmeiras 2-1.

Palmeiras, who fired coach Emerson Leao on Monday, went ahead when Paraguay defender Carlos Gamarra headed in from a corner early in the second half.

Santos were gifted an equaliser, also from a corner, when the ball struck Palmeiras defender Paulo Baier on the back of the head and flew into the net.

Former Paris St Germain forward Reinaldo then broke clear to score the winner for Santos, who had Cleber Santana sent off for elbowing.

Palmeiras were left pointless at the bottom of the table after three games.

Internacional also have seven points after beating Flamengo 1-0 to extend their unbeaten run to 25 games in all competitions.

Internacional, who face a Libertadores Cup tie against Uruguay's Nacional next week, fielded a reserve team but were still too good for Flamengo.

Alex scored the goal from a free-kick in the first half and the visitors had Obina sent off after twice being booked for diving.

Defending champions Corinthians lost 3-2 at Ponte Preta after also resting several players for the Libertadores while South American champions Sao Paulo thumped Santa Cruz 4-0.

Goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni was among the scorers for Sao Paulo when he scored from one of his trademark free kicks.

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