Luxemburgo praises crafty players

RIO DE JANEIRO - Palmeiras coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo has praised three of his players for getting booked and picking up one-match suspensions.

Fabinho Capixaba, Pierre and Diego Souza were all shown a third yellow card of the season during Wednesday's 4-2 win away to Sao Caetano in the Paulista championship.

As a result, they have been given automatic suspensions for Sunday's match against modest Guarani and are free to face arch-rivals Corinthians in a derby one week later.

"If a player can get booked, I don't see any problem as long as it's a normal incident," the former Brazil and Real Madrid Luxemburgo told reporters.

"You have to be crafty in football. It's part of the game.

"Taking your time over a throw-in or leaving the pitch when you have been substituted is part of the game. The rules say the referee must give a yellow card.

"What he can't do it give a red card for something which deserves a yellow."

Pierre was booked for repeated fouling and his two team mates for time-wasting.

Leaders Palmeiras have taken 25 points from nine games in the Paulista, the largest of the regional championships which kick off the Brazilian season.

Corinthians are one point behind but have played a game more. Guarani are 15th in the 20-team table.

Corinthians are hoping that former Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan striker Ronaldo can make his debut against Palmeiras on March 8.