Cruzeiro wins again, stays ahead in Brazil
SAO PAULO (AP) — Cruzeiro defeated last-place Nautico 4-1 on Sunday to keep an 11-point lead atop the Brazilian league.
Midfielder Ricardo Goulart scored a goal in each half to help Cruzeiro maintain the comfortable cushion over second-place Gremio, which stayed in pursuit by beating Clarence Seedorf’s Botafogo 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium on Saturday.
Mayke and Everton Ribeiro also scored for Cruzeiro, which has won 11 of its last 12 matches to remain on track for its first league title since 2003. With 12 rounds left, Cruzeiro leads with 59 points.
Atletico Paranaense overcame Botafogo for third spot by defeating rival Coritiba 2-1 in a match delayed by fan violence.
Flamengo and struggling Vasco da Gama played to a 1-1 draw, while Internacional ended a four-match losing streak with a 1-0 win over defending champion Fluminense.
Former Brazil striker Leandro Damiao scored his first goal in 12 matches to give seventh-place International the home victory against 11th-place Fluminense, which hadn’t lost in eight matches. It was Inter’s first match since former Brazil manager Dunga was fired on Friday.
Cruzeiro produced another dominant performance in the match against Nautico at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife.
Goulart put Cruzeiro on the board in the ninth minute and Nautico equalized with striker Maikon Leite in the 28th. Goulart scored again in the 53rd, forward Everton Ribeiro added to the lead five minutes later and defender Mayke sealed the victory in the 77th.
Cruzeiro has outscored opponents 58-21 in its first 26 matches and hasn’t lost since a 2-1 defeat to Gremio on Aug. 14.
Gremio won its third in a row thanks to a goal by midfielder Alex Telles late in the first half at the Maracana on Saturday. Led by Argentine striker Hernan Barcos, Chilean playmaker Eduardo Vargas and Paraguayan midfielder Cristian Riveros, Gremio is unbeaten in five matches.
Botafogo lost for the fourth time in five matches. It hasn’t won since a 1-0 result against Corinthians early last month.
Coach Oswaldo de Oliveira fell ill after the game and had to spend the night at a hospital after being diagnosed with a minor heart arrhythmia. He was released Sunday and should return to work by the end of the week.
Atletico Paranaense surpassed Botafogo with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over rival Coritiba, which played with 10 men for the last half hour after Argentine defender Sergio Escudero was red carded.
Veteran midfielder Paulo Baier scored twice for Atletico just before halftime. The second half was delayed for about 15 minutes as the referee waited for police to control fans fighting in the stands. Police fired rubber bullets to try to disperse the crowd. No serious injuries were reported.
On Saturday, the second-division match between ABC and Palmeiras in the northeastern city of Natal was delayed for nearly an hour because fans jumped onto the field to escape overcrowded stands at the Frasqueirao Stadium.
In Belo Horizonte, Copa Libertadores champion Atletico Mineiro, fifth on the Brazilian league table, drew 0-0 with club world champion Corinthians, which is only ninth in the 20-team standings.
In Brasilia, Willie scored a second-half equalizer for Vasco da Gama but it couldn’t manage more than the 1-1 draw with rival Flamengo, returning to the relegation zone with 29 points. Vasco was surpassed by six-time champion Sao Paulo, which scored late to beat Vitoria 3-2 at home on Saturday.
Portuguesa beat Santos 3-0 in Sao Paulo on Sunday, while Bahia drew Ponte Preta 1-1 in Salvador.
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