Belo Horizonte (Brazil), Oct 11 (IANS) A first-half goal from former Brazil international midfielder Thiago Neves handed defending champions Cruzeiro a 1-0 victory over Corinthians in the first leg of the Copa do Brasil final here.
The 33-year-old struck just before halftime by heading in after Egidio Pereira's cross at the Mineirao Stadium on Wednesday evening, reports Xinhua news agency.
The visitors' night went from bad to worse in second-half stoppage time when midfielder Angelo Araos was sent off after two rash challenges in quick succession.
The final's second leg will be played at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo next Wednesday (October 17).
The winner of the Copa do Brasil will earn an automatic berth in next year's Copa Libertadores, South American football's premier club competition.