Corinthians lift Brazilian crown
© AFP

Corinthians, former club of Brazilian legend Socrates, who died on Sunday, honoured his memory by winning their fifth Campeonato Brasileiro.

The Sao Paulo-based outfit emerged from the ugly encounter against Palmeiras with a goalless draw at the Pacaembu to end the campaign two points clear of Vasco da Gama, who drew Flamengo 1-1, and seal their first league crown since 2005.

Both sides ended with nine men in a bad-tempered encounter. Palmeiras' Jorge Valdivia was the first player to receive his marching orders after 48 minutes, while Corinthians' Reis Wallace followed him down the tunnel in the 74th minute. A late brawl led to the dismissals of Castan Leandro for the hosts and Palmeiras' Joao Vitor.

The draw meant the outcome of Vasco's match with Flamengo was immaterial, although the hosts would have hoped for better than a 1-1 stalemate.

We hope we can lift the title, to win it in the name of Socrates, for the great idol that he is.
Alex, Corinthians midfielder

The Timao, for whom Socrates played between 1978 and 1984, have previously lifted the national title in 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2005. The club have also lifted the Sao Paulo state championship a record 26 times.

Before the game, midfielder Alex said there would be no finer way to pay a fitting tribute to Socrates than for the club to get the draw they needed. "The best way for us to celebrate his memory is the title," said Alex. "We hope we can lift the title, to win it in the name of Socrates, for the great idol that he is."

Fans held up banners in the stands reading "Doctor Socrates, rest in peace" while a minute's silence was observed before the start.