The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Dida saves Alexandre Pato's penalty, Gremio advances to Brazilian Cup semifinals in shootout
RIO DE JANEIRO - World Cup veteran goalkeeper Dida made three penalty saves, including the clincher against Alexandre Pato, to send Gremio into the Brazilian Cup semifinals with a 3-2 shootout win over Corinthians on Wednesday.
The saves came in a shootout that followed a 0-0 draw in regulation in the southern city of Porto Alegre, the same score of the first leg in Sao Paulo.
Dida, who was Pato's teammate at AC Milan, easily made the stop in the final attempt after the striker sent a soft shot into the middle of the goal.
"I thought Dida was going to pick a side, but he didn't move," said the Brazil striker, who hasn't been able to establish himself as a regular starter for Corinthians since joining the club world champion in January.
"I expected him to hit it in the middle, I just waited for it," said the 40-year-old Dida, who was a member of Brazil's squad at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Dida had already saved shots by midfielder Danilo and defender Edenilson, while Argentine striker Hernan Barcos and Alex Telles failed to convert for Gremio, which is back in the tournament's semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Last year, the four-time Brazilian Cup winner was eliminated by eventual champion Palmeiras in the semifinals. Gremio will now face Atletico Paranaense, which advanced to the semis for the first time by holding Internacional to a 0-0 draw at home after a 1-1 result in the first leg in Rio Grande do Sul.
Internacional was eliminated despite a strong squad containing the likes of Uruguay striker Diego Forlan and Argentine forwards Andres D'Alessandro and Ignacio Scocco.
Another star out of the tournament is veteran Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, whose Botafogo lost 4-0 in a one-sided match in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Maracana Stadium. The teams had drawn 1-1 in the first leg. Striker Hernane scored three goals for Brazil's most popular club, which will play either Vasco da Gama or Goias, which meet Thursday at the Maracana. Goias won the first leg 2-1 at home.
Wednesday's match at the Arena Gremio ended with 10 players on each team. Chilean Eduardo Vargas, who hit the post late in the second half, was red carded along with Corinthians forward Emerson for an altercation near the end.
Brazil World Cup veteran Elano scored one of Gremio's goals in the shootout.
Corinthians played without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is scheduled to undergo right-foot surgery after getting hurt in a league match last week.
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