Brazilian team loses 18 players amid pandemic

July 31, 2020
FILE - In this file photo dated  Tuesday, May 8, 2018, PSG’s Dani Alves runs with the ball during the French Cup final against Les Herbiers at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris.
FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, May 8, 2018, PSG’s Dani Alves runs with the ball during the French Cup final against Les Herbiers at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris.

SAO PAULO (AP) :

Tiny Brazilian football team Mirassol lost 18 players during the new coronavirus pandemic. And eight of those were starters. But on Wednesday night it still managed to shock local fans by beating Dani Alves' Sao Paulo FC 3-2 to advance to the semi-finals of the traditional Sao Paulo state league cup.

Mirassol plays in the fourth division of Brazil's championship, which starts in mid-August. Players started leaving during the four-month break caused by the pandemic due to uncertainty about the team's future. The city of 60,000 residents is 280 miles (455 kilometers) northwest of Sao Paulo.

Striker Ze Roberto, 26, scored a brace for Mirassol after only one training session with the team from the Sao Paulo countryside city. He was among the top goal scorers in Brazil's second division in 2019 and came back after a five-month spell at Baniyas, of the United Arab Emirates.

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