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FOOTBALL

Sao Paulo lift World Clubs trophy

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Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Football
Liverpool (England)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (CNN) -- Sao Paulo midfielder Mineiro ended Liverpool's club record of 11 successive clean sheets with a 27th minute goal which gave Brazilians Sao Paulo a 1-0 win over the European champions in the World Club Championship in Yokohama on Sunday.

Liverpool dominated for long periods, had three goals disallowed and a late penalty appeal rejected.

Mineiro's goal, after a neat pass from Aloisio, was the first conceded by Liverpool in 1,042 minutes play.

"We knew one of our goals was a clear goal," said Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. "I was disappointed how the situation was controlled by the referee.

"I try to have a lot of respect but we deserved to win. We had 21 shots, 17 corners, we hit the crossbar twice and had three goals disallowed. We controlled most of the game."

A delighted Mineiro declared: "It was my only chance and it was like winning the lottery. I managed to keep calm and put it away without getting nervous."

Liverpool almost struck back immediately, but Luis Garcia's flick from a Xabi Alonso corner hit the crossbar.

Rafael Benitez's side should have been in front in the second minute but Spanish striker Fernando Morientes missed the target with a point-blank header.

Garcia came close with two more headers and Gerrard blasted wide in the 35th minute after good work from Harry Kewell on the left.

Gerrard forced a superb save from Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, voted the game's Most Valuable Player, with a curling free kick six minutes into the second half.

Garcia had a headed goal disallowed for offside and Morientes's spectacular overhead kick flashed just wide.

Curled out

Mexican referee Benito Archundia also ruled out a Sami Hyypia effort, adjudging that Alonso's corner had curled out before the Finn volleyed it home.

Archundia was unconvinced after substitute Peter Crouch looked to have been illegally blocked by two Sao Paulo defenders.

Substitute Florent Sinama Pongolle's late effort was then disallowed for offside, to the annoyance of Liverpool's players and most of the 68,000 crowd.

Sao Paulo won the World Club Cup -- the tournament's forerunner, involving the champions of Europe and South America -- in 1992 and 1993.

"We beat a great team," said Sao Paulo coach Paulo Autuori. "The only thing that's important in football is the final score. Football is about having a winner and a loser.

"If you lose you always try to make excuses."

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