Atletico Mineiro blows chance
Atletico Mineiro missed a chance to regain the Brazilian league lead on Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Nautico that keeps the club two points behind Fluminense.
Playmaker Ronaldinho called it a ”horrible” result for Atletico, especially after Fluminense lost at home to last-place Atletico Goianiense 2-1 on Saturday. Atletico remained on 51 points, but with a game in hand.
Third place Gremio is five points off the lead after drawing with Flamengo 1-1, while fourth place Vasco da Gama is 10 points back after drawing Cruzeiro by the same score. Lucas and Luis Fabiano scored a goal each Saturday as fifth place Sao Paulo defeated Portuguesa 3-1.
Defending champion Corinthians had a 2-0 win over Palmeiras, which remains in the relegation zone, while Neymar scored twice to help Santos defeat Coritiba 2-1.
Midfielder Souza scored Nautico’s goal in the 49th minute at the Aflitos stadium in Recife, firing a low free kick shot that went through the wall.
”It was a horrible result,” Ronaldinho said. ”We had the chance to grab the lead after the Fluminense loss but unfortunately we were not able to take advantage of it.”
Nautico, which had a player sent off late in the game, is 12th in the standings and hadn’t won in four matches. Atletico Mineiro, seeking its first league title since 1971, was coming off two straight victories.
Fluminense suffered an upset loss to Atletico Goianiense after allowing two first-half goals in Volta Redonda. It pulled one closer in the second half but couldn’t get the equalizer. It was Atletico Goianiense’s fourth victory in 25 matches.
Bolivia striker Marcelo Moreno scored in Gremio’s draw in Rio de Janeiro against popular club Flamengo, which remains winless in seven matches.
Corinthians, the Copa Libertadores champion, got goals from Romarinho and Paulinho in each half to get past Palmeiras at the Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo. Palmeiras played a man down from the 25th because forward Luan was sent off with two yellow cards.
It was Palmeiras’ first match since the contract with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was terminated by mutual consent because of the team’s disappointing results. Palmeiras has lost six of its last eight matches, including three in a row.
The Brazilian club with most national titles, Palmeiras won the Brazilian Cup just two months ago but is second-to-last in the standings, eight points away from safety. The bottom four clubs will be demoted to the second division at the end of the year.
Corinthians, focused on FIFA’s Club World Cup later this year, is ninth in the standings.
Neymar scored two second-half goals to give Santos a 2-1 come-from-behind win at Coritiba, including an equalizer in a run in which he left four defenders behind. Santos is in 10th place in the standings.
Diego Forlan’s Internacional drew Sport 2-2 in Porto Alegre. Francisco Rithiely and Gilson Do Amaral gave Sport a 2-0 half-time lead, but the home side hit back through Cassiano Dias Moreira and Leandro Damiao.
Also on Sunday, Botafogo – without Clarence Seedorf – drew Ponte Preta 0-0 in Campinas.