Corinthians maintained their slender lead at the top of the Brasileirão over the weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Cruzeiro in Sete Lagoas. Despite struggling to break down Cruzeiro's stubborn and dogged backline for large periods of the game, Timão eventually found a breakthrough in the 66th minute with a free-flowing move, finished with aplomb by midfielder Paulinho. With time running out, Walter Montillo missed a glorious chance to equalise for the hosts, blasting a softly-awarded penalty over Júlio César's crossbar. The results means the Belo Horizonte giants are now 11 games without a win - their worst ever run in the top flight - and they hover just above the relegation zone with a single point cushion.
Second-placed Vasco Da Gama got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over 10-man Atlético Mineiro in Rio de Janeiro. Elton broke the deadlock just two minutes in with a thunderous left-footed volley, which gave Renan little chance at his front post. In the 18th minute Fagner doubled Vasco's advantage with an opportunistic toe-poke, punishing indecision from the Atlético defenders inside their box. Both Corinthians and Vasco sit level at the summit on 54 points, however, Corinthians have the edge having won a game more(16 v 15).
Boisterous Botafogo fans departed the Engenhão stadium chanting "we will be champions" following their 2-0 victory over Atlético Paranaense. Antônio Carlos settled any early nerves the Fogão faithful may have had with a well-taken header in the 17th minute. In the second half, the visitors, with the division's most toothless attack, spurned a succession of chances to rescue a point. 'Loco' Abreu settled the tie seven minutes from the end with a confident penalty past Renan Rocha, securing third place for the Carioca side and a bridgeable two-point gap behind the leading pair.
On Saturday evening, Flamengo beat a spirited Ceará side 1-0 thanks to Deivid's powerful header just before half-time. However, the goal was all about Thiago Neves' wonderfully flighted cross which fell perfectly for his teammate. Sadly for the Rubro-Negro, who sit fourth, Ronaldinho and Neves miss next week's clash with Santos due to suspension. In the second half Ronaldinho was dismissed for a petty swipe at Heleno's heels, which seemed barely to make contact, while Neves faces an automatic one-match ban after picking up another yellow card.
Fred's fifth goal in two games helped Fluminense to a crucial 2-1 victory away to Palmeiras. The Seleção striker, the league's form player, opened the
scoring after just 10 minutes with a beautifully taken diving header. However, Jorge Valdivia, returning from midweek international duty with Chile, equalised for the hosts in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot. With just four minutes remaining, in typical poacher's style, Fred ghosted in at the back post behind the last defender to steal the points for the holders. The win, Flu's eighth in eleven games, moves them up to fifth, just one point behind bitter rivals Flamengo.
São Paulo sacked bumbling coach, Adilson Batista, immediately after their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Atlético Goianiense. A paltry seven wins in 22 games, and none in their last six, means it's the third time this calender year Batista has received his marching orders. Assistant coach Milton Cruz will take control on a caretaker basis. Gilson, Felipe and Anselmo were on the scoresheet for Atlético in what was a straightforward win.
In Porto Alegre, Avaí slipped to a 4-2 loss at the hands of Internacional, despite leading twice through Robinho(8') and William(72'). A double strike from Argentine schemer Andres D'Alessandro, followed by late efforts from defenders Kleber and Nei, secured the three points for Dorival Junior's men. The result means Avaí drop second from bottom, a massive five points from safety, with just eight games remaining.
Meanwhile, a patched-up Santos team, missing the deadly trio of Neymar, Ganso and Elano, suffered a predictable 1-0 home defeat to Grêmio. The game's decisive goal arrived courtesy of Damián Escudero in the 20th minute.
Finally, Figueirense came from behind to beat bottom-placed América Mineiro 2-1, while Coritiba and Bahia played out an insipid 0-0 draw in Paraná.
Gameweek 30 results:
Figueirense 2-1 América Mineiro
Ceará 0-1 Flamengo
Palmeiras 1-2 Fluminense
Santos 0-1 Grêmio
Botafogo 2-0 Atlético Paranaense
Internacional 4-2 Avaí
Cruzeiro 0-1 Corinthians
Vasco da Gama 2-0 Atlético Mineiro
Coritiba 0-0 Bahia
Atlético Goianiense 3-0 São Paulo