Libertadores losers beaten in Brazil finals

RIO DE JANEIRO - South American champions Internacional, knocked out of the Libertadores Cup in midweek, went down to a second consecutive home defeat when they were beaten 3-2 by arch-rivals Gremio in the first leg of the Gaucho state final on Sunday.

Cruzeiro, Libertadores favourites who were also upset on Wednesday, lost their "clasico" against Atletico Mineiro 2-1 in the first leg of the Mineiro (Minas Gerais) state championship.

Santos, the only one of five Brazilian teams to qualify for the last eight of the Libertadores, held Corinthians 0-0 in the first leg of the Paulista in Sao Paulo but lost Paulo Henrique Ganso to injury.

Brazil playmaker Ganso suffered a thigh muscle injury that makes him doubtful for Wednesday's first leg of their Libertadores quarter-final away to Once Caldas in Colombia.

"Players should always be fit but with this tough series (of matches you risk) them ending up hurt. I'm always going to complain but it doesn't get us anywhere with this sort of bad luck," Santos coach Muricy Ramalho told reporters.

Ronaldinho's Flamengo won the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) title last weekend in the season-opening state competitions, which come to an end before the May 21 start of the Brazilian championship.


Internacional, upset 2-1 by Penarol of Uruguay in the first knockout round of the Libertadores, took an early lead through Andrezinho in the Gaucho (Rio Grande do Sul) final first leg at the Beira-Rio.

But their bitter Porto Alegre city rivals Gremio, also eliminated from the Libertadores on Wednesday, pulled level with a header from striker Junior Viscosa over poorly-positioned goalkeeper Renan shortly before half-time.

Gremio went ahead seconds after the interval with a goal by midfielder Leandro following a one-two with Viscosa. Inter equalised through young Brazil striker Leandro Damiao in the 82nd but Vicosa headed the winner over Renan five minutes from time.

Gremio, who need only a draw in the second leg at the Olimpico next Sunday to be crowned state champions, had their Argentine midfielder Damian Escudero sent off in the final minute.

"We're aware of what's happened but we haven't had time to work," said Inter coach and idol Falcao, who took charge last month.

"We've had seven deciders from the 17th until this Sunday with game after game. We can't train, we feel the lack of practice," he told reporters looking back over a run of key matches in two competitions.

The Mineiro final first leg at the Arena do Jacare (alligator's arena) in Sete Lagoas was decided in the first half with right-back Patrick scoring Atletico's winner eight minutes before halftime.

It ended with some arguing and pushing among players after Cruzeiro's Argentine playmaker Walter Montillo was sent off for elbowing Giovanni