Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf scored his fourth goal in this year's Brazilian league Sunday to help Botafogo defeat Vasco da Gama 3-2 and stay atop the standings.
Striker Rafael Marques scored the other two goals for Botafogo, which reached 23 points with its third victory in the last four rounds, and seventh in 11 matches played so far. Vasco's goals at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro were both scored by forward Andre.
Second-place Cruzeiro stayed two points behind Botafogo by defeating third-place Coritiba 1-0 on Saturday at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte. Midfielder Luan scored the winner to give Cruzeiro its fourth win in five matches.
Botafogo, seeking its first Brazilian title since 1995, opened the scoring with Rafael Marques in the 23rd minute and Seedorf increased the lead seven minutes later with a right-footed shot from inside the area.
It was Seedorf's first goal at the Maracana.
''It's an honor to score at a stadium with such an incredible history, where greats like Zico and Junior used to play,'' the veteran midfielder said.
Andre pulled Vasco closer in the 44th and netted the equalizer just two minutes into the second half, but Rafael Marques put Botafogo ahead again a minute later by dribbling past a defender inside the box and firing a right-footed shot into the top corner.
Vasco's World Cup-veteran playmaker Juninho was injured midway through the second half, but could not be replaced because Vasco had already made three substitutions. He stayed on the field but limped until the final whistle with an apparent right-leg muscle injury.
Defending champion Fluminense conceded an 85th-minute goal in a 1-1 draw at Ponte Preta, dropping to 11th in the 20-team standings. Brazil striker Fred missed a penalty late in the first half, when the match was still scoreless.
Also Sunday, Porto Alegre rivals Gremio and Internacional played to a 1-1 draw at the Arena Gremio. Argentine striker Hernan Barcos opened the scoring by converting a penalty in the 18th, but Internacional equalized just two minutes later thanks to striker Leandro Damiao. Internacional had two players sent off late in the second half, while Gremio had a player sent off in injury time.
Internacional, fourth in the standings, featured the debut of Argentine striker Ignacio Scocco when he replaced Uruguay forward Diego Forlan in the 69th.
Club world champion Corinthians beat Criciuma 2-0 in Santa Catarina to win its second in a row and move to seventh in the standings, just six points off the lead. Peru striker Paolo Guerrero opened the scoring in the 25th.
Flamengo left the relegation zone by beating Copa Libertadores champion Atletico Mineiro 3-0 in Brasilia. Still without Ronaldinho, Atletico has lost three in a row since winning Latin America's most important club competition for the first time. It has only 10 points from 10 matches in the national league.
Young Argentine midfielder Marcelo Canete scored for Portuguesa in the 62nd at the Caninde Stadium in Sao Paulo, but Vitoria rallied with goals from Tarracha in the 70th and Fabricio in the 85th.