This is the first year of the new format in the Campeanato Paulista with eight teams being in the play offs and using the single elimination format used in the Carioca for the quarter and semi finals.
In the Saturday games Santos were the first team into the semi finals after overcoming a stubborn Ponte Preta side at the Vila Belmiro. Neymar was the difference between the two sides, after going close with just thirteen minutes gone he struck a powerful shot past Bruno Fuso with twenty one minutes gone to get the only goal of the game. Muricy Ramalho's side will need to improve if they are to retain their crown and a 19th State Title. Corinthians joined Santos in the last four after they were pushed all the way by Oeste at the Pacaembu. Liédson continues to to be a fans favourite since return to Brazil from Sporting CP and he put Corinthians ahead in the ninth minute, but that was cancelled out when Fabio Santos struck for Oeste on the stoke of half time. But the introduction of Willian from the bench turned the game in Corinthians' favour, with the forward firing home the winner with 64 minutes on the clock.
In front of the Premier Sports TV cameras São Paulo cruised into the last four with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Portuguesa at the Arena Barueri. Ilsinho put São Paulo ahead four minutes before the break and the victory was confirmed when Dagoberto struck ten mintues from time to give them a semi final against Santos. Palmeiras will now face Corinthians after their 2-1 victory over courageous Mirassol at the Pacaembu. Jorge Valvida put Palmeiras ahead with ten minutes on the clock but they were pegged back when substitute Marcelinho levelled for the visitors five minutes before the break and only eight minutes after his introduction to the game. Palmeiras have only suffered one home defeat all season and they weren't about to make it two as Marcio Araujo restored their lead eleven minutes after the break. Two minutes later Mirassol were reduced to ten when Xuxa saw his second yellow card and there was to be no comeback for the minnows.
Semi Finals take place next weekend
São Paulo x Santos
Palmeiras x Corinthians
Premier Sports TV is the new live home of South American football in the UK
You can subscribe at www.premiersports.tv or call 0871 663 9000