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Sao Paulo scores late to draw defending champion Cruzeiro 1-1 in Brazilian league

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SAO PAULO - Defender Antonio Carlos scored in stoppage time to give Sao Paulo a 1-1 draw with Cruzeiro on Sunday, keeping the defending Brazilian league champion from winning its second in a row to start the season.

Carlos scored two minutes into injury time to offset Julio Baptista's perfectly struck free kick in the 50th, extending Cruzeiro's winless home streak against Sao Paulo to nearly 10 years.

Cruzeiro players loudly complained of the foul that led to Sao Paulo's equalizer. On the free kick, Carlos moved in front of the defenders and redirected the ball into the far corner to seal the result.

Sao Paulo, seeking its first league title since 2008, was also coming of a first-round victory.

Fluminense became the only team to win the first two matches after a 1-0 victory over Palmeiras in Sao Paulo on Saturday. The four-time champion was relegated on the field last year but avoided demotion because of a controversial sports tribunal decision that stripped points from Portuguesa for using a suspended player in the final round.

Portuguesa now is in danger of being excluded from the second division after abandoning its match last week saying it had a court order to play in the top flight. The team decided to play this weekend, drawing 1-1 with Santa Cruz at home.

On Sunday, Corinthians beat a 10-man Flamengo 2-0 in its final home match at the Pacaembu stadium before moving to the Itaquerao, the newly built venue that will host the World Cup opener on June 12. Flamengo played the entire second half with a man down because defender Leo Moura was red carded for a hard foul just before halftime.

Gremio defeated Atletico Mineiro 2-1 in Porto Alegre despite resting most of its regular starters for its upcoming Copa Libertadores match against San Lorenzo of Argentina in the tournament's round of 16. Gremio lost the first leg 1-0.

At the Maracana stadium, Paraguay midfielder Pablo Zeballos scored in the 75th to help Botafogo salvage a 2-2 draw against Internacional after going down 2-0 in the first half.

Vitoria also squandered a 2-0 first-half lead after Atletico Paranaense scored in the 79th and 84th minutes in Salvador.

Sport beat recently promoted Chapecoense 2-1 in Recife, while Bahia defeated Figueirense 2-0 in Sao Paulo.

In the second division on Saturday, four-time Brazilian champion Vasco da Gama lost 2-1 to Luverdense at the Arena Pantanal, remaining with only one point from two matches in its attempt to return to the top flight.

Only nine rounds will be played before the Brazilian league stops for the June 12-July 13 World Cup that Brazil is hosting. The remaining 29 rounds will be played until December.

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Follow Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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