Corinthians opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Campeonato standings on Wednesday with a 1-0 win at Ceara, but champions Fluminense remained in the hunt with a thrilling 5-4 home triumph over Gremio.
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Substitute Ramirez netted the only goal of the game in the 81st minute for Corinthians, who finished the match playing against 10 men following the 85th-minute dismissal of Ceara defender Fabricio.
Third-placed Fluminense stayed five points behind Corinthians after edging a nine-goal thriller against Gremio thanks in the main to four goals from Fred.
Gremio led the topsy-turvy encounter 2-1 at the interval, Marquinhos scoring on the stroke of half-time to re-establish their lead after Fred had equalised following Rafael Marques’ early opener.
A second Fred strike and another from Rafael Sobis looked to have swung the game in Fluminense’s favour at the start of the second half.
Two goals in as many minutes from Brandao and Adilson put Gremio back in the ascendancy at 4-3, but Fred netted two further goals – the first from the penalty spot – to seal an entertaining match in the champions’ favour.
Corinthians’ nearest challengers Vasco da Gama, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw at Palmeiras.
Luan’s second-half equaliser earned Palmeiras a point, cancelling out Dede’s fourth-minute opener, to leave second-spotted Vasco two points behind Corinthians with three games left.
At the other end of the table, second-bottom America MG boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 home win over fifth-placed Botafogo.
Kempes opened the scoring for the hosts from the penalty spot and Fabio Junior doubled America’s lead before the break. Uruguay striker Sebastian Abreu pulled one back for Botafogo in the 64th minute and their hopes were boosted four minutes later when Gilson saw red for America, but the visitors could not force an equaliser.
Bottom club Avai could only manage a goalless draw at home to Cruzeiro. The visitors had Naldo sent off five minutes from the end but Avai could not make the most of their man advantage.
Elsewhere, Atletico Paranaense beat Sao Paulo 1-0 thanks to an 11th-minute goal from Ecuador winger Joffre Guerron, while Gilberto’s 10th-minute strike earned Internacional a 1-0 win against Bahia.