Vasco da Gama edge toward Rio football title

Rio de Janeiro, May 2 (IANS) Vasco da Gama took a major step towards securing back-to-back Rio de Janeiro state football titles on Sunday by beating Botafogo 1-0 in the first match of their two-legged final.

Jorge Henrique broke the deadlock at the Maracana stadium here on Sunday with a 60th-minute header after a Nene cross, reports Xinhua.

Botafogo were reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining when Sassa was shown a straight red card for a violent challenge on Henrique.

Vasco are aiming for their 24th state title while Botafogo are bidding to win it for the 21st time.

In the first leg of the Sao Paulo state championship final on Sunday, a late goal from Ronaldo Mendes earned Santos a 1-1 draw at Audax.

Playing in their maiden state championship decider, Audax took the lead just after halftime courtesy of playmaker Mike.

Santos are aiming for their 22nd state title and fifth in seven years.

–IANS

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