Soccer-Crespo leads Sao Paulo to first state championship since 2005

·1-min read
Paulista Championship - Final - Sao Paulo v Palmeiras

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Sao Paulo beat Palmeiras 2-0 on Sunday to win their first Paulista state championship since 2005, potentially marking the start of a new era under Argentine coach Hernan Crespo.

Crespo took over in February and instilled some steel in a club that was heavily criticised by fans for giving up a seven-point lead and slumping to fourth place in last year’s Brazilian league.

A long shot from Luan deflected in off Felipe Melo after 36 minutes and then Luciano doubled their lead with a neat finish from close in with almost a quarter of an hour remaining.

The first leg of the final finished 0-0 last week.

Thousands of supporters gathered outside the Morumbi stadium on Sunday to welcome the team coach and although the game was played with no fans many remained outside while the match took place.

It was Sao Paulo’s first major title since winning the Brazilian league in 2008.

"This has a special taste," said Dani Alves, the former Barcelona fullback who missed the game through injury but was one of the team's stalwarts. "I always dreamt of playing here and being a winner here is indescribable."

On a day of state finals across Brazil, Gremio won the Rio Grande do Sul championship after their 1-1 draw with Internacional gave them a 3-2 aggregate win.

The Porto Alegre derby featured three red and eight yellow cards.

In Pernambuco state, Nautico beat Sport 5-3 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 to win their first state championship since 2018.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis)