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Paranaense takes two-goal cushion
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) — Striker Alex Mineiro, who scored a hat trick in last week’s semifinal win over Fluminense, hit another three goals as Atletico Paranaense beat Sao Caetano 4-2 in the first leg of the Brazilian championship final on Sunday.
His goals all came in the last 35 minutes as Atletico came from 2-1 down to take a useful lead into next Sunday’s second leg against last year’s beaten finalists.
In the 55th minute, he finished off a counter-attack by sliding the ball under goalkeeper Silvio Luiz.
In the 80th minute, he played a one-two with substitute Souza and burst through the middle of the defense for a brilliant second before adding an injury time penalty.
Neither club has won the title before and their progress in the competition has been welcomed as a breath of fresh air in the decaying Brazilian game.
Both are seen as models of good administration in a country where many clubs rashly pay huge salaries they cannot afford to high-profile players known locally as “Big Medals.”
On the field, they are looked on as a throwback to the days when Brazilian football was based on all-out attack rather than the defensive foul-ridden style which currently dominates.
Sunday’s match produced plenty of open attacking play and a flurry of chances at both ends, although the 62 fouls took some shine off the encounter.
Atletico took the lead in the fourth minute through Ilan.
Right-back Mancini equalized in the 32nd minute with a low, swerving shot from 35 meters and Sao Caetano went ahead nine minutes into the second half when left-back Marcos Paulo fired home after a free kick had rebounded to him.
Sao Caetano held the lead for less than one minute before Mineiro led the home team’s recovery.