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By ESPN Staff

Brazil: Four off as goal celebration sparks trouble

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 6 (Reuters) - Four players were sent off when tempers flared after a provocative goal celebration in a Brazilian match on Sunday.

Gremio's game at home to Juventude, preceded by provocative declarations between officials of the two clubs, turned nasty after the visitors went 3-0 ahead midway through the second half with a goal by Thiago.

Thiago celebrated by running to the Gremio fans behind the goal and gesturing for them to be quiet by putting his finger over his mouth.

Furious Gremio players, including several reserves who got off the team bench, ran over and pushed and kicked him before Juventude players joined the melee.

Eventually, Thiago was sent off along with Gremio's Tadeu.

Jonas pulled one back for Gremio but, with bad feeling still bubbling under the surface, he was sent off for kicking Juventude's Hercules three minutes later after initially trying to knock him over with a two-footed lunging tackle.

As Hercules got up, he was pushed over by Gremio midfielder Eduardo Costa, who was also sent off to leave the hosts with eight men.

Juventude, who took control with two first-half goals by Mendes, won the Gaucho championship quarter-final second leg match 3-2 to go through on away goals after the aggregate score finished 4-4.

Gremio had not previously lost in 15 outings in the competition, one of the numerous regional tournaments which kick off the Brazilian season.

In the Paulista championship, striker Adriano scored for the fourth game in a row to set Sao Paulo on their way to a 3-1 win over Juventus.

Adriano, on loan from Inter Milan, has scored nine goals in the tournament plus three in the South American Libertadores Cup.

Goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni was also on target, converting a penalty for his first goal of the season and the 79th of his career.

The win guaranteed Sao Paulo a place in the semi-finals along with Guaratingueta, Palmeiras and Ponte Preta.

Corinthians, needing only a win to pip Ponte Preta for fourth spot, lost 3-2 at Noreste after leading 2-1 with 15 minutes left as Edylton and Leandrinho scored late goals for the hosts.

Vanderlei Luxemburgo's Palmeiras chalked up their 10th successive win by beating Barueri 3-0 away.