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By ESPN Staff

Romario's '1,000th goal' sparks wild scenes

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 20 (Reuters) - Former Brazil striker Romario finally scored what he claims to be the 1,000th goal of his career by converting a penalty in Vasco da Gama's 3-1 over Sport Recife on Sunday.

The 41-year-old sent Sport goalkeeper Magrao the wrong way to spark extraordinary scenes at Vasco's Sao Januario stadium, where celebrations held up the Brazilian championship match for 16 minutes.

Dozens of people, including friends, relatives and a horde of radio and television reporters ran onto the pitch to hug, congratulate and interview the 1994 World Cup winner after his 48th minute goal.

Romario admits that his tally includes goals scored in youth team, friendly and testimonial games but this failed to dampen the celebrations.

The former PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona player was presented with a special shirt with the number 1,000 on the back by club president Eurico Miranda and completed a lap of honour.

He then went back onto the pitch and played for another 15 minutes, before being substituted to a standing ovation.

'I dedicate this to my family, my children, I'm really emotional, this is an extraordinary moment in my life,' he said immediately after the goal.

'It's a great pleasure to reach this target, which only one other player has managed,' he added.

Pele also scored his 1,000th goal from a penalty for Santos against Vasco da Gama in 1969.

'There are always some who don't like it, but only one other person has done it and I'm proud.'

Asked about Sport goalkeeper Magrao, who was on the receiving end, he said: 'He has gone down in history when he wants to or not. This could be good or bad for him, depending on how he looks at it.'

Romario's striking partner Andre Dias scored twice in the first half to put Vasco in control.

Romario, who always said he would have preferred to score the goal at the Maracana stadium, had two chances to score in the first half.

The first effort was cleared off the line by Du Lopes and the second went begging as he was tackled when about to shoot.

But there was no mistake when Vasco were awarded a penalty for handball three minutes after the break.

Vasco went off the boil after the goal and Luciano Henrique pulled one back for the visitors with seven minutes left.

Romario, playing his first game for nearly six weeks, had been stuck on 999 goals for three matches, during which Vasco were knocked out of two competitions and coach Renato Portaluppi was fired.

Magrao said the defeat hurt more than being on the wrong end of history.

'I would have preferred a win for Sport Recife. Nobody likes to lose and I'm no different,' he said.

Vasco coach Celso Roth said: 'It's a great honour. I'm very grateful to be here at this historic moment for Brazilian and world football.'

The win left Vasco as one of six teams who have taken maximum points from their opening two games alongside Palmeiras, Corinthians, Botafogo, Atletico Paranaense and Parana.