SAO PAULO (AP) Renato Augusto and Vagner Love scored two goals each as Corinthians increased their Brazilian league lead to eight points with a crushing 4-1 win at Atletico Paranaense on Sunday.
Atletico had not won in eight games in the top flight and proved no match for Sao Paulo’s Corinthians.
Attacking midfielder Augusto’s two goals, either side of a Vagner Love strike, settled the contest by half time. Love added his second in the 62nd minute after a consolation goal from Paranaense midfielder Bruno Mota.
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Corinthians’ attacking trio of Love, Augusto and Jadson have now scored 27 goals between them in 31 matches this season.
Second placed Atletico Mineiro, who had midfielder Carlos sent off in the 19th minute, lost 4-1 at Sport Recife. Already 1-0 down after an early goal from Mineiro defender Mattheus Ferraz, Carlos received two yellow cards in four minutes to leave his teammates a man down for most of the match.
The home side wasted little time making their advantage count as midfielder Diego Souza scored four minutes after Carlos’s early departure, before setting up teammate Elber to make it 3-0 in the 27th. In an impressive display, Souza also set up substitute Maikon Leite early in the second half.
A late Thiago Ribero goal would have done little to cheer up Mineiro’s long trip back from Recife to Belo Horizonte.
Third place Gremio also lost despite taking a two-goal lead at home against Chapecoense.
In a thrilling match Gremio produced a resilient second half performance, striker Tulio de Melo scoring in the 57th and 78th minutes to draw Chapecoense level. Despite Gremio enjoying the majority of possession and having more shots on target, it was Chapecoense who snatched the win, with right back Apodi calming lifting the ball over keeper Bruno Grassi with the last kick of the game in the fifth minute of injury time.
Elsewhere, Santos won 3-1 at home to Goias to maintain its grip on the fourth and final qualifying spot for next season Copa Libertadores. Two goals from the league’s top scorer Ricardo Oliveira -his 18th and 19th of the season – saw the Sao Paulo club to a comfortable fourth win its last five games.
Palmeiras climbed above Sao Paulo into fifth spot, with a 3-1 victory at Avai on Saturday. Sao Paulo could only manage a 2-2 draw with strugglers Vasco da Gama. Joinville’s 1-0 win at home to Figueirense on Saturday saw them leapfrog Rio de Janeiro’s Vasco at the foot of the table.
In other results on Sunday it was: Ponte Preta 3, Coritiba 0; Cruzeiro 2, Fluminense 0; Flamengo 0, Internacional 1.
There are seven more rounds to go in the Serie A 2015 season, with the last matches taking place on 5 December.