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Ronaldo misses penalty but scores winner against Cruzeiro

RONALDO had a penalty saved then scored the winner in Corinthians' 2-1 away victory over Cruzeiro in the Brazilian championship yesterday.

The three times FIFA Player of the Year set up Jorge Henrique for the first in the 23rd minute and could have increased the lead five minutes later with the penalty after defender Leonardo Silva stopped a shot on the line with his hand and was sent off.

Ronaldo, however, checked his slow run-up and made a weak penalty shot, allowing goalkeeper Fabio to make an easy save.

"I kicked badly, I didn't want to score against Cruzeiro, but later I changed my mind and ended up scoring," said the 32-year-old Rolando, who began his professional career with the team from Minas Gerais state 15 years ago.

Ronaldo, who was feted by the club before kickoff, scored the winner in the 77th minute for his 17th goal in 25 matches.

Having left for PSV Eindhoven as a teenager before joining Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan, Ronaldo had never before played against Cruzeiro.


Cruzeiro, who lost to Argentina's Estudiantes in the Libertadores Cup final on Wednesday, pulled a goal back five minutes from time with a penalty by Kleber after he was brought down by Corinthians captain Chicao.

"Today's result is a consequence of Wednesday's match... Everyone's depressed," said Kleber, whose team are 18th in the championship standings.

Corinthians are sixth with 20 points from 12 matches, five points behind leaders Atletico Mineiro, Cruzeiro's city rivals, and Palmeiras.

Atletico were held 0-0 at fourth-placed Vitoria while Palmeiras beat Santo Andre 1-0 for their fourth successive win under caretaker coach Jorginho.

Gremio beat bitter city rivals Internacional 2-1 in the Porto Alegre derby which marked a century as one of the major "clasicos" of the Brazilian game.

Argentine former Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez scored the winner after Brazil striker Nilmar had put Inter ahead and midfielder Souza had equalised.

Title holders Sao Paulo climbed to 12th with their third win, 2-1 at home to Santos who will unveil Vanderlei Luxemburgo as their new coach today.


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