Brazilian League Roundup, Nov. 21

Argentine playmaker Dario Conca scored two goals and set up two

others on Sunday to help Fluminense beat Sao Paulo 4-1 and move to

the top of the standings with two rounds to go in the Brazilian

league.

Fluminense moved past Corinthians, which was held to a 1-1 draw

with Vitoria in Salvador in a match in which striker Ronaldo was

substituted in the first half because of a muscle injury.

Seeking its first league title since 1984, Fluminense has 65

points, one more than Corinthians and five more than Cruzeiro,

which will host Vasco later on Sunday.

Conca, touted by many as the league’s top player this year,

participated in all of Fluminense’s goals at the Arena Barueri just

outside Sao Paulo.

Fluminense first scored on a header by defender Gum off a corner

by Conca in the 34th minute.

Sao Paulo equalized with a goal by Lucas in the 56th, but Conca

put his team ahead with a shot from inside the area in the 74th.

Former Lyon striker Fred increased Fluminense’s lead from a rebound

by Conca’s long-range shot in the 78th.

Conca scored his second goal with a firm left-footer from

outside the box in the 88th, extending Fluminense’s unbeaten streak

to seven matches.

Sao Paulo, a six-time champion stuck in the middle of the

standings this year, finished the match two men down. Defender

Xandao was red-carded for a hard foul in the 63rd, and midfielder

Richarlyson was sent off in the 70th for complaining about a foul

called against him.

Corinthians lost the standings lead in the match against

Vitoria, a team struggling to avoid relegation to the second

division.

Midfielder Danilo opened the scoring at Barradao stadium after a

perfect pass from Ronaldo in the 21st. But Vitoria equalized with a

penalty converted by Colombian goalkeeper Julian Viafara in the

44th following a handball by midfielder Ralf.

Ronaldo, who was playing in his seventh consecutive match, was

substituted in the 30th with an apparent right thigh injury.

Vitoria striker Junior had a goal disallowed due to a

controversial offside call in the 65th, prompting several

complaints from players and coaches. Corinthians was coming off a

contentious 1-0 win over Cruzeiro that contained a late penalty for

Ronaldo.

Also Sunday, Botafogo lost 2-1 to Copa Libertadores champion

Internacional at Engenhao stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while Luiz

Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras – resting all regular starters ahead of

the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana semifinals against Goias on

Wednesday – lost 2-0 to Atletico Mineiro in Araraquara.

On Saturday, defending champion Flamengo moved away from

relegation with a 2-1 victory over Guarani at the Engenhao. Coach

Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s team, Brazil’s most popular, needs at least

a draw in each of the final two matches to remain in the top flight

next season.

Also, Gremio defeated Atletico Paranaense 3-1 in Porto Alegre to

move to fourth place, in position to secure a berth in next year’s

Copa Libertadores.

The top three teams will earn a spot in Latin America’s most

important competition, and the fourth-placed club will qualify

unless a Brazilian team wins the Copa Sudamericana to automatically

advance to the Copa Libertadores.

Three teams have already secured their return to the top flight

next year, Coritiba, Figueirense and 1988 national champion Bahia.

Coritiba won the second-division title with a 1-1 draw with Icasa

on Saturday.