Brazilian League Roundup, Sep. 12
Uruguay striker Sebastian Abreu opened the scoring in the second half to help Botafogo defeat Sao Paulo 2-0 and move a step closer to the top of the Brazilian league on Sunday.
The victory puts Joel Santana's team within striking distance of leader Fluminense and second-place Corinthians, which both lost Saturday. Botafogo has 37 points, one less than Corinthians and four less than Fluminense.
In Santos' 2-1 loss to Ceara at Fortaleza, Santos accused a police officer of hitting one of the team's players with a baton during an altercation after the match.
Abreu put Botafogo ahead at Engenhao stadium in Rio with a close-range strike in the 68th minute, taking advantage of a rebound inside the area. He played from the start on Sunday after coming off the bench and scoring the team's winner against Santos last Thursday.
Midfielder Edno sealed the victory with a shot from inside the area in the 80th.
It was Botafogo's third victory in four matches. The 1995 national champion has lost only once in the last 13 matches and now is in contention for the title as the competition passed the halfway mark.
The result halted Sao Paulo's three-match winning streak, leaving the six-time champion in ninth place in the 20-team standings.
Cruzeiro also moved near the top of the table after beating Avai 2-1 in Florianopolis for its fourth straight victory, reaching fourth place with 37 points. The two-time Brazilian champion got the win despite playing with 10 men from the 54th minute after defender Marquinhos Parana was ejected.
Santos dropped to sixth place with the loss to Ceara, but what upset the players the most was an alleged assault of a police officer against midfielder Marquinhos when the match ended.
Players from both teams were involved in a verbal altercation after striker Neymar stepped on the foot of a defender as the game was ending, and the officer apparently hit Marquinhos while trying to clear the field. TV images showed a big red mark on Marquinhos' back, although the actual blow was not immediately shown.
Santos directors said they would make a formal accusation against the officer, who had to be escorted from the field by his colleagues as other Santos' players who saw the alleged attack went after him to complain.
Santos' goal was scored by Barcelona striker Keirrison, his first goal in six matches after joining the two-time national champion on a loan.
On Saturday, Fluminense allowed an injury-time goal in a 2-1 loss to Atletico Goianiense in Goiania, its second loss in three matches. The team, led by playmaker, Deco had been dominating the competition but has won only once in the last five matches.
The result gave Fluminense 41 points from 21 matches, three points ahead of Corinthians, which has a game in hand.
Corinthians missed a chance to move closer by losing 1-0 to 12th-place Gremio at Pacaembu stadium, a result that snapped the team's 10-match winning streak at home.
Former Corinthians midfielder Douglas scored the winner with a shot from the top of the area in the 34th to give Gremio its first away victory and extending its unbeaten streak to five matches.
Playing without Ronaldo as he continues to try to regain his fitness, Corinthians missed a penalty in the 60th when Brazil goalkeeper Victor stopped the shot from former Boca Juniors striker Iarley. Gremio defender Vilson was sent off for the foul that prompted the penalty.
Titleholder Flamengo failed to get past a 2-2 draw with Vitoria at Volta Redonda. World Cup veteran midfielder Kleberson scored both goals for the six-time champion, including the equalizer in the 85th. The result extended Flamengo's winless streak to seven matches, keeping the team in 16th place, just one spot out of the relegation zone.
Rio de Janeiro clubs are not playing at Maracana after the stadium was closed last week for renovations ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Vasco kept alive its 13-match unbeaten streak after playing out a scoreless draw with four-time national champion Palmeiras at Pacaembu on Sunday, a result that extended Luiz Felipe Scolari's team's winless run to four matches. Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia came off the bench at halftime to mark his 100th match with Palmeiras.
Also Sunday, Vanderlei Luxemburgo's Atletico Mineiro scored a late goal to beat Prudente 1-0 at Minas Gerais, but the team remains in relegation zone with only 21 points.
Copa Libertadores champion Internacional played out a 0-0 draw with last-place Goias at Beira-Rio stadium in Porto Alegre. Internacional was not able to score despite the return of playmaker Andres D'Alessandro, who missed three matches while with the Argentine national team.