Gremio hit back to avoid Caracas upset

BUENOS AIRES - Gremio scored a late equaliser to eke out a 1-1 draw and avoid a shock defeat at unfancied Caracas FC in their Libertadores Cup quarter-final first leg tie on Wednesday.

Gabriel Cichero gave the Venezuelans a surprise lead in the second minute at the Olimpico stadium in Caracas with the Brazilian visitors claiming offside.

Rafael Castellin and Rodrigo Prieto both missed chances to increase Caracas' lead early in the second half as Gremio struggled on a difficult pitch.

Gremio fired a warning when Souza's free kick struck the post before Fabio Santos, unmarked at the far post, headed in from Tcheco's cross in the 75th minute.

The automatic sprinkling system then went off, firing jets of water across the pitch and holding up play for four minutes.

Cruzeiro beat Sao Paulo 2-1 at home in the evening's other match.

Leonardo Silva headed Cruzeiro ahead on the stroke of halftime in a foul-ridden all-Brazilian clash in Belo Horizonte.

Washington levelled for Sao Paulo in the 56th minute from a rebound after Fabio saved Dagoberto's first effort but Ze Carlos sidefooted the Foxes back in front nine minutes later.