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Santos reach Sao Paulo state championship final

Brazil,Sports, Mon, 30 Apr 2012 IANS

Rio De Janeiro, April 30 (IANS) Brazilian international striker Neymar scored a hat-trick as Santos advanced to the Sao Paulo state championship final with a 3-1 victory over Sao Paulo.


Neymar opened the scoring at the Morumbi stadium with a third-minute penalty before capitalizing on a brilliant Paulo Henrique Ganso pass to make it 2-0 in 31 minutes here Sunday, reported Xinhua.


Sao Paulo's Willian Jose reduced the deficit for the home side with a 63rd minute strike before Neymar sealed the win in the 76th minute.


Santos will now meet Guarani in next Sunday's final, who defeated Ponte Preta 3-1.


Neymar's three goals took his career tally with Santos to 102 from just 180 games.


The 20-year-old is now Santos' third highest goalscorer since Pele retired from the club in 1974.


After the match Neymar praised his teammates for the team's performance.


"It was a great game, but I didn't do anything by myself. This is a team that works hard for one another and today everybody was fantastic," Neymar said.


Neymar's performance drew praise from both his teammates and opponents.


"He is amazing. Yet again he helped us with three beautiful goals to take us to the final," said Ganso, colleague of Neymar.


Sao Paulo midfielder Lucas, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, labelled Neymar a "genius with the ball".


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