Ronaldo scores winner
Ronaldo had a penalty saved, then scored the winner in Corinthians’ 2-1 away victory over Cruzeiro in the Brazilian championship on Sunday. The three-time FIFA Player of the Year set up Jorge Henrique for the first in the 23rd minute and could have increased the lead five minutes later from the penalty spot after defender Leonardo Silva stopped a shot on the line with his hand and was sent off. Ronaldo, however, checked his slow run-up and took a weak penalty, allowing goalkeeper Fabio to make an easy save. “I kicked badly, I didn’t want to score against Cruzeiro, but later I changed my mind and ended up scoring,” said the 32-year-old Ronaldo, who began his professional career with the team from Minas Gerais State 15 years ago. Ronaldo, who was feted by the club before kickoff, scored the winner in the 77th minute. Meanwhile, Atletico were held 0-0 at fourth-placed Vitoria, while Palmeiras beat Santo Andre 1-0 for their fourth successive win under caretaker coach Jorginho. Gremio beat bitter city rivals Internacional 2-1 in the Porto Alegre derby. Argentine former Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez scored the winner after Brazil striker Nilmar had put Internacional ahead and midfielder Souza had equalized. Title holders Sao Paulo climbed to 12th with their third win, 2-1 at home to Santos.
Monomotapa stun Sahel
Monomotapa continued their giant-killing run in this year’s African Champions League, opening their campaign in the group phase with a 2-1 win over favorites Etoile Sahel on Sunday. Darryl Nyandoro’s goal on the hour mark ensured a winning start in Group B for the rookies, who overcame the tough economic conditions in their country to reach the league phase with several upset results in the earlier knockout rounds. Monomotapa surprised their Tunisian visitors, who were African champions two years ago, with their opening goal in the first minute from Daniel Kamungenga. Etoile equalized in the 49th minute from Ahmed Akaichi, but it took just 10 minutes before Monomotapa restored their lead and then held on for all three points in Harare. TP Mazembe Englebert from the Democratic Republic of Congo scored a 2-0 home win over Nigeria’s Heartland FC in Lubumbashi on Sunday in the other Group B encounter.
Nakamura labeled a ‘nerd’
The media have labeled Espanyol’s clean-living new Japanese signing Shunsuke Nakamura a “soccer nerd” a week after his arrival in the country. Spanish newspaper AS noted that the 31-year-old never touches alcohol, never goes to bed before going through a rigorous set of stretching exercises and watches nothing but soccer on TV. “You [Nakamura] really are soccer crazy,” Monday’s Nikkan Sports quoted the Madrid-based tabloid as saying. The Japan playmaker joined Espanyol on a two-year deal from Scotland’s Celtic last month.
Aurora field a 12-year-old
Top flight side Aurora handed a debut on Sunday to new starlet Mauricio Baldivieso — just 12 years old — in a 1-0 loss to FC La Paz. Mauricio came on six minutes before the break, sent into the fray by proud father Julio “Emperor” Cesar Baldivieso, who coaches the club. Mauricio had a somewhat brutal introduction to the professional game as he picked up an ankle knock within five minutes from a ferocious tackle by La Paz’s Henry Alaca, but to the delight of Aurora’s fans, the youngster was able to resume after treatment. “I am proud — he has a lot of talent,” his father said.