Sao Paulo take the title
Sao Paulo won their third straight Brazilian league title on Sunday after beating Goias 1-0 with a goal from striker Borges. Borges’ 22nd-minute goal secured victory for a team that needed only a draw to win the championship. Gremio, who beat Atletico Mineiro 2-0, were the only team capable of denying the champions a sixth title, but that had depended on Sao Paulo losing. Sao Paulo also won the Brazilian league in 1977, 1986 and 1991. Sao Paulo trailed Gremio by 11 points just after the midway point of the competition, but steadily moved up the standings. They could have clinched the title a week ago by beating Fluminense, but could only draw 1-1 in front of nearly 70,000 fans at Morumbi Stadium. Besides Sao Paulo and second-place Gremio, Palmeiras and Cruzeiro also won the right to play in next year’s Copa Libertadores. Four-time champions Vasco da Gama were relegated to the second division after losing 2-0 to Vitoria. Also going down were Figueirense, Portuguesa and Ipatinga.
Wins set up thrilling finale
San Lorenzo and Tigre won on Sunday to go level on points at the top of the Argentine championship with Boca Juniors and set up a thrilling finale to the title race. Boca, who had started the weekend with a two-point lead, were held 0-0 at Gimnasia-La Plata. Unfashionable Tigre came from two goals behind to win 3-2 at Rosario Central and San Lorenzo thumped floundering Independiente 4-1. The trio each have 36 points from 18 games with one match to play. Lanus, two points behind in fourth place after a 2-0 win at Velez Sarsfield, also have an outside chance. Goal difference is not used to decide the title, so a playoff will be held if two teams are still level after next Sunday’s final games and a three-way tournament will take place if all three sides finish on the same number of points. The biggest drama involved Tigre, who were 2-0 down after only 11 minutes at Rosario Central following goals by Milton Caraglio and Ezequiel Gonzalez. But Carlos Luna struck twice to pull Tigre level by halftime and substitute Leandro Lazarro grabbed the winner in the 81st minute, scoring from near the penalty spot after Leonel Altobelli pulled the ball back.
Toluca, Cruz Azul make final
Toluca beat champions Santos Laguna 2-1 on Sunday to reach the final of the Mexican championship despite conceding a goal for the first time in nine games. The Red Devils will face Cruz Azul in the two-leg final after their win at home in the semi-final second-leg followed a goalless draw in the first match last week. Edgar Castillo put the Santos ahead in the 26th minute after exchanging passes with Daniel Luduena, the first goal conceded by goalkeeper Hernan Cristante in 772 minutes of play. Toluca quickly recovered from the blow and leveled a minute later with a goal by Edgar Duenas. Chilean forward Hector Mancilla scored the winner four minutes before halftime after a one-two with Antonio Naelson.
Benfica hit six to go top
Benfica routed a 10-man Maritimo 6-0 on Sunday to move top of the Portuguese league for the first time in more than three years. Nuno Gomes and David Suazo scored two goals each, while defender Luisao added another in the 65th minute. Jose Antonio Reyes had opened the scoring at the Barreiros Stadium with a 20th-minute penalty. Maritimo’s Marcos Oliveira was red-carded after 16 minutes to give Benfica the advantage.