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Sao Paulo held after conceeding late equaliser

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Modest Paulista held Brazilian champions Sao Paulo to a controversial 2-2 draw with their equaliser coming seconds after the referee appeared to raise his arm to signal the end of the game.

Furious Sao Paulo coach Muricy Ramalho ran on to the pitch to protest to the referee about the amount of time added on in the Paulista (Sao Paulo state) championship match after his side lost their 100 percent record in their third game of the season.

Television pictures on Thursday showed Paulista taking a free kick deep into injury time of Wednesday night's game.

The ball was partially cleared and fell kindly to Glaucio, who unleashed a powerful volley from 25 metres.

At that point, referee Cleber Wellington Abade appeared to raise his arm to signal the end of the game. However, Glaucio's shot took a deflection, flew into the net and Abade awarded the goal amid furious Sao Paulo protests.

Abade had indicated four minutes of injury time and Paulista's equaliser was timed by Brazilian television at four minutes and 10 seconds after the end of normal time.

Paulista went ahead in first-half injury-time when Sao Paulo defender Alex Silva attempted to backheel the ball clear, miscued and allowed Diogo to score a soft goal.

Borges equalised straight from the restart and striker Hugo put Sao Paulo ahead early in the second half.

Former Paris St Germain striker Christian scored a hat-trick as Corinthians won 4-1 at Juventus to make it three wins in three games alongside Noroeste and Santos.

Bolivia striker Juan Carlos Arce added the fourth, shortly after coming on as a substitute for his debut following his move from Oriente Petrolero.

Fluminense, fielding eight new signings, kicked off the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) championship by beating Friburguense 1-0 with a goal by striker Alex Dias early in the second half.

Vasco da Gama, banned from fielding 40-year-old striker Romario because he has already played for two clubs since July, beat Nova Iguacu 2-0, and Botafogo came from two goals behind to force a 2-2 draw with Madureira.

A frustrated Romario, who claims to have scored 987 goals in his career, watched from the VIP box.

Under FIFA rules, Romario, who took part in pre-season training with Vasco, must wait until June 30 before he can play for the club and try to reach the 1,000 mark.