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Soccer: Sao Paulo Beats River Plate 2-0

June 23, 2005

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni scored his 13th goal of the season to help Brazil’s Sao Paulo beat Argentina’s River Plate 2-0 in a Copa Libertadores first-leg semifinal Wednesday.

Sao Paulo needs only a tie in the second leg next week in Buenos Aires to advance to the final of Latin America’s top club competition.

Midfielder Danilo scored first with a left-footer from about 20 yards in the 76th minute, firing a cross toward the far post of goalkeeper Franco Costanzo.

Ceni converted a penalty kick in the 89th after a hand ball by River Plate midfielder Luis Gonzalez in the penalty area.

It was Ceni’s 52nd career goal, and his fifth in this year’s Copa Libertadores. He is Sao Paulo’s leading scorer in this season’s competition.

Before the match, River Plate fans clashed with Brazilian police after being prohibited from displaying team banners in the section reserved for them at Morumbi Stadium. Police told local media that no serious injuries were immediately reported.

Sao Paulo fans also threw rocks at the bus carrying River Plate players as they arrived at the stadium, breaking six windows but not injuring anybody before police intervened.

The win kept alive Sao Paulo’s 18-year unbeaten streak in the Copa at Morumbi. In 28 matches since 1987, Sao Paulo has won 25 and drawn three.

The Brazilians seek their first title since championships in 1992 and ’93, while River Plate won in 1986 and ’96.

Brazil’s Atletico Paranaense and Mexico’s Chivas play the first leg of the other semifinal on Thursday in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba.

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