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By ESPN Staff
Apr 21, 2008

Sao Paulo flee dressing-room after spray scare

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 20 (Reuters) - Brazilian champions Sao Paulo were forced to flee their dressing-room at halftime after it filled with an unidentified spray during their match away to Palmeiras on Sunday.

A 15-minute blackout at the Parque Antartica stadium also marred the Paulista championship semi-final second leg match, which Palmeiras won 2-0.

Sao Paulo coach Muricy Ramalho, who gave his halftime team talk on the pitch, said he and several members of the delegation had come close to vomiting.

'It was impossible to breath, it was extremly irritating for the nostrils and eyes,' team doctor Jose Sanchez told reporters.

Sao Paulo also complained they were unable to take showers after the game.

A police official said the spray, which had not been identified, was a matter for the two clubs and the federation.

Palmeiras, trailing 2-1 from the first leg, went ahead in the 23rd minute when Leo Lima's 30-metre shot was misjudged by Rogerio Ceni.

Flamboyant Chilean Jorge Valdivia finished off a breakaway for the second in the 84th minute and appeared to provoke Sao Paulo's defenders as he celebrated.

Almost immediately, the lights went out and there was a scuffle in midfield as Sao Paulo players remonstrated with Valdivia.

Sao Paulo had defender Andres Dias sent off for a second bookable offence in the 80th minute and Palmeiras had Martinez dismissed for a dangerous tackle after the restart.

Vanderlei Luxemburgo's team will face Ponte Preta in the final of the championship, the biggest of the state competitions which kick off the Brazilian season.

Ponte beat Guaratingueta 2-1 on Saturday to complete a 3-1 aggregate win.

Old rivals Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro will meet in the Minas Gerais final in Belo Horizonte after completing semi-final wins.

Cruzeiro came from behind to beat Ituiutaba 3-1 for a 7-5 aggregate win while Atletico went through 4-2 on aggregate after beating Tupi 1-0.

Nine-man Botafogo beat Fluminense 1-0 to win the second stage of the Carioca championship and earn a place against Flamengo in the final.

Renato Silva scored an 84th minute winner for Botafogo, who had Alessandro and Jorge Henrique sent off the second half.

Striker Washington missed a first-half penalty for Fluminense.