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Cruzeiro’s lead cut to 7 points in Brazil

September 8, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Cruzeiro conceded a late equalizer in a 3-3 draw at Fluminense on Sunday to see its Brazilian league lead reduced to seven points at the competition’s halfway point.

The defending champion was leading until the 89th minute when substitute striker Kenedy scored from just outside the area to help Fluminense escape defeat at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Former Brazil midfielder Julio Baptista scored a pair of goals and Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno — the league’s leading scorer with 10 goals — added another for Cruzeiro, which had won four in a row coming into the weekend.

Cruzeiro played without its top two players, Everton Ribeiro and Ricardo Goulart, who are with Brazil’s national team ahead of a friendly against Ecuador in the United States on Tuesday.

Second-place Sao Paulo moved closer by beating Sport 2-0 with a goal by striker Alexandre Pato at the Morumbi Stadium, while third-place Internacional missed its chance by relinquishing a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 loss to Figueirense at its Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre. Argentine playmaker Andres D’Alessandro scored Internacional’s first goal by converting a first-half penalty.

Fourth-place Corinthians, playing without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, failed to advance after a 0-0 draw at Criciuma, while Fluminense stayed in fifth place in the 20-team standings with the home draw with Cruzeiro.

In other matches Sunday, Atletico Mineiro beat Botafogo 1-0 in Belo Horizonte, while Palmeiras drew Atletico Paranaense 1-1 in Curitiba in coach Dorival Jr.’s debut.

On Saturday, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Gremio edged Flamengo 1-0 with a late goal in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Maracana. The result halted Flamengo’s five-match winning streak under the command of former Brazil coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

Santos got past last-place Vitoria 3-1 with a pair of goals by defender David Braz and one by striker Leandro Damiao at the Pacaembu Stadium.

Coritiba and Bahia played to a 0-0 draw at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador in a match played without fans because of recent fan violence at the stadium.

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Follow Tales Azzoni at http://www.twitter.com/tazzoni

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