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Jul 24, 2006

Corinthians sink to bottom despite Tevez leveller

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 23 (Reuters) - Brazilian champions Corinthians slumped to the bottom of the table at the weekend despite drawing 2-2 at home to Fortaleza and ending a run of six straight defeats.

Argentina forward Carlos Tevez salvaged a point for Corinthians with a second-half equaliser and celebrated by running to his team's fans and putting his finger over his lips, implying they should be quiet.

Tevez later said he had become fed up with the fans jeering the team.

"Myself and my team-mates won the Brazilian championship last year but if we lose one game, they start insulting us," he said. "But that's Corinthians."

Corinthians, whose partnership with London-based Media Sports Investments have made them Brazil's richest club, went ahead in the 31st minute when teenager Ramon scored with an angled shot.

But Fortaleza hit back as Finazzi headed home in first-half injury-time and Andre Cunha pounced on a defensive mistake to put them in front in the 62nd minute.

With the Corinthians fans already protesting, Tevez, playing his first game since the World Cup, blasted the equaliser 11 minutes later.

PALMEIRAS CLIMB

Corinthians prop up the table with 10 points from 13 games, two behind Fortaleza and Santa Cruz and three behind their arch-rivals Palmeiras.

Former South American champions Palmeiras moved off the bottom by beating Goias 3-1 to chalk up their third successive win.

Nen gave Palmeiras an early lead and, although Souza levelled two minutes later, they went back in front with a looping 30-metre free kick from midfielder Paulo Baier in the 24th minute.

A second-half penalty converted by veteran Edmundo wrapped up the points.

Leaders Sao Paulo won 3-1 at Ponte Preta despite fielding a reserve team, saving their regulars for Wednesday's Libertadores Cup semi-final first leg in Mexico against Guadalajara.

Tuto put Ponte ahead from a twice-taken penalty in the 12th minute after goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni saved his first effort but was judged to have moved.

Lenilson volleyed home at the far post to level before halftime and also scored the third goal in the 73rd minute after Alex Silva had put Sao Paulo ahead early in the second half.

The reigning South American and world club champions have 29 points, four more than Cruzeiro who lost 1-0 to Parana.