Corinthians and Vasco Da Gama stretched their lead at the top of the Brasileirao to five points over the weekend, with just four games remaining to play.
Despite a late scare, Corinthians overcame Atletico Paranaense 2-1 and remain at the summit having secured one victory more than Vasco(18 v 17). Early strikes from Paulinho (2') and Emerson (5') suggested it would be a comfortable evening for the Timao. However, Paulo Baier's goal just after half-time rattled the Paulista giants and, despite finishing the game nervously, they held on resolutely to claim the crucial three points.
Botafogo's title hopes diminished following their 2-0 defeat to ten-man Vasco in the Classico Alvinegro. An anaemic Fogao side, clearly shot of confidence, simply had no response to goals from Fellipe Bastos (15') and Dede (60'), slumping to an unacceptable fourth loss in five league games at the business end of the season.
In what proved to be a dreadful weekend for the title aspirations of Rio's other chasing clubs, Flamengo and Fluminense also suffered disappointing defeats at the hands of lesser opposition. Flamengo slipped to a 2-0 setback away to Coritiba, while the weekend's surprise result arrived on Saturday evening when bottom-placed America Mineiro stunned the city's Engenhao stadium with a remarkable 2-1 defeat over highly-fancied Flu.
In the battle for the last automatic Libertadores place, Figueirense now sit fourth after coming from behind to beat the in-form Atletico Mineiro 2-1.Werley's 37th minute header gave Galo a 1-0 lead going into the break. However, Wellington Nem's long range effort restored parity before Julio Cesar stole the points three minutes from the end with a close range finish.
Fluminense and Figueirense remain tied in third with 56 points, while Botafogo and Flamengo sit level a further point behind.
Meanwhile, in Porto Alegre a spirited fightback from Gremio saw them salvage a 2-2 draw against Palmeiras. Cicinho and Marcos Assuncao were on the scoresheet for Palmeiras, before late strikes from Brandao and Fernando rescued a point for the hosts.
Despite fielding a second-string team Santos continued their impressive warm-up for next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, coming from behind to win 3-2 away to Ceara. A Bruno Aguiar double-strike, followed by Diogo's late winner, ensured a fourth straight victory for Peixe coach Muricy Ramalho. Felipe Azevedo and Osvaldo grabbed the goals for Ceara.
Elsewhere, Luis Fabiano's first Brasileirao goals since signing from Sevilla in March helped Sao Paulo to a 2-0 win at home against lowly Avai, while Souza struck Bahia's winner against Atletico Goianiense.
Finally, Cruzeiro moved out of the relegation zone after beating Internacional 1-0 in Belo Horizonte thanks to a deft near post header from Argentine schemer Ernesto Farias.
Brasileirao gameweek 34 results:
Sao Paulo 2-0 Avai
Fluminense 1-2 America Mineiro
Figueirense 2-1 Atletico Mineiro
Corinthians 2-1 Atlético Paranaense
Ceara 2-3 Santos
Coritiba 2-0 Flamengo
Gremio 2-2 Palmeiras
Vasco da Gama 2-0 Botafogo
Cruzeiro 1-0 Internacional
Atletico Goianiense 0-1 Bahia
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