RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Scoring a goal was easy but getting a yellow card was hard work for Brazil’s World Cup striker Luis Fabiano as Sao Paulo beat Botafogo 4-0 in the Brazilian championship.
The former Sevilla striker admitted deliberately getting himself booked in the second half of Thursday night’s game, and earning an automatic suspension for a third yellow card, to avoid the long trip to Salvador for a match against Bahia.
But he made hard work of it.
"When I want to receive a yellow card, nobody gives me one, and when I don’t want one, they rain down on me," the explosive forward, known as the ‘Fabulous One’ who is prone to yellow and red cards, told reporters.
"I wanted to sit out the Bahia game. It’s a long journey and I’ve just come back from injury, I wanted to prepare myself for the sequence of games we have coming up."
Coach Ney Franco admitted asking Luis Fabiano to get himself booked which he eventually got by dallying over a throw-in.
"I asked him to force the yellow card. He took a long time to take a throw-in and the rule is clear, he has to be booked," said the coach.
Players have been suspended in other countries for deliberate bookings, but the practice is regarded as a form of cunning in Brazil. None of the media reports on Thursday’s game criticised him for it.
Playing his 200th game for Sao Paulo, Luis Fabiano had needed only five minutes to get on the scoresheet, rounding goalkeeper Jefferson for his 10th goal of the Brazilian championship to leave him as joint topscorer.
Oswaldo, Cicero and Lucas scored the other goals as Sao Paulo outplayed a Botafogo side who lost Dutchman Clarence Seedorf to injury in the second half.
Sao Paulo moved up to fifth in the table with 34 points from 20 games, 10 behind leaders Atletico Mineiro.
Luis Fabiano has not played for Brazil since leading the attack at the 2010 World Cup but could be in line for a possible recall after re-finding his form with Sao Paulo.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Patrick Johnston; firstname.lastname@example.org; +41 79 917 1402; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)
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