Copa São Paulo: XV de Piracicaba hold Corinthians to enthralling draw
Corinthians 2-2 XV de Piracicaba
Reigning champions Corinthians got their 2013 Copa São Paulo off to a disappointing start with a 2-2 draw against an inspired XV de Piracicaba side on Sunday evening.
The underdogs got the game off to a fine start as they took an early lead, with midfielder Nikolas capitalising on a poor punch from goalkeeper Caíque to head home.
Corinthians were soon level through a veteran of the 2012 Copinha success, striker Leandro. Fine work from Ayrton on the left opened up space for a chipped cross to the back post, where Leandro rose to guide home a difficult header.
Following the break, the high pace continued and XV took a lead once more thanks to centre-back Gustavo, the defender heading home a corner to open up the possibility of a shock.
Corinthians would not give up, though, and brought on substitutes in search of a win. Ultimately their strength told and it was substitute Jean Theodoro who made the difference.
The attacking midfielder, on the right flank, produced a fine raking ball to the back post where Léo (Leonardo) brought the ball under control, cut onto his right-foot and slotted the ball into the far corner to wrap up the scoring.
Man of the Match: Felipe (XV de Piracicaba) - Nicknamed Balotelli due to his supposed resemblence of the Manchester City striker, Felipe had a fine game at right-back for the underdogs. Consistently pushing forward down the right-flank, the young full-back caused persistant problems for his opposite number PC.
Corinthians XI: Caíque França; Lucas Ronato, Rafael, Ivan, PC; Ualefi, Lucas, Ayrton, Léo; Leandro, Paulinho.
XV de Piracicaba XI: Ramon, Gustavo, Peralta, Felipe, Gabriel; Cunha, Juliano, Nikolas, Jhonatan; Robson, Celsinho.