Dodo bounces back with hat-trick for Vasco

RIO DE JANEIRO - Striker Dodo, recently back from a two-year doping ban, scored a hat-trick in the opening 35 minutes as Vasco da Gama crushed 10-man Botafogo 6-0 in the Carioca championship on Sunday.

Dodo opened the scoring after just four minutes and when Botafogo midfielder Eduardo was sent off 11 minutes later for a bad tackle on midfielder Leo Gago, Vasco took full advantage to rip the home side apart.

The 35-year-old striker completely upstaged Botafogo's new Uruguayan striker Sebastian "Loco" Abreu, adding two more in the 33rd and 35th minutes.

A free-kick by Leo Gago and two goals from Philippe Coutinho completed the scoring in the second-half as Vasco romped to victory in the first big derby of the Rio de Janeiro state championship.

Former Botafogo player Dodo provided a positive result for the banned amphetamine fenpropex during a routine test in 2007 after a match against Vasco. This was his third match since returning earlier this month.

"I can only be thankful for this day. Things went right in all sectors. That also comes from training," Dodo, who played for Brazil in 1997, told reporters.

Brazilian and Carioca champions Flamengo notched their third successive victory with a 2-1 over Bangu at the Maracana.

New loan signing Vagner Love, who partnered Brazil's Adriano up front, scored both goals.

In the Paulista (Sao Paulo) championship, the biggest of the 27 state tournaments that open the Brazilian season, Palmeiras let slip a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 with modest Ituano.

One of Ituano's goals was scored by former Middlesbrough, Atletico Madrid and Brazil midfielder Juninho, who is also the club's president.