Corinthians loses to lowly America

November 6, 2011

Corinthians kept the Brazilian league lead despite a 2-1 loss to last-place America on Sunday, thanks to slip-ups by its closest opponents.

Vasco da Gama fell 2-0 to Neymar’s Santos, while Botafogo lost 1-0 to Figueirense on Saturday. Defending champion Fluminense made the biggest move of the weekend by jumping from sixth to third place after beating Internacional 2-1.

Corinthians and Vasco remained on 58 points, but Corinthians is ahead on number of victories. Fluminense has 56 points and Botafogo has 55 with five rounds to go.

Ronaldinho’s Flamengo also got to within three points of the lead after routing Cruzeiro 5-1 at the Engenhao stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Thiago Neves scored a hat trick for Brazil’s most popular club.

Corinthians had a chance to increase its lead against struggling America, but lost the match after allowing a goal in the final minutes of the match in Uberlandia.

The hosts opened the scoring with a controversial penalty kick converted by striker Fabio Junior in the 43rd minute. Corinthians heavily complained, saying the foul which prompted the penalty occurred outside the box.

Corinthians evened the score when defender Chicao converted another penalty in the 45th, but Amaral gave America the win with a well-struck free kick in the 87th.

Neymar and league-leading scorer Borges scored a goal each to give Santos the 2-0 victory over Vasco at the Vila Belmiro stadium in Santos.

On Saturday, Botafogo lost 1-0 at home to Figueirense, which is unbeaten in 12 matches and has won five in a row to reach sixth in the standings, five points out of the lead.

Fluminense got first-half goals from Rafael Moura and Rafael Sobis to defeat host Internacional at a packed Beira-Rio stadium in Porto Alegre. The titleholders have won four of their last five matches.

Flamengo got back into contention after routing Cruzeiro at the Engenhao behind three goals by playmaker Thiago Neves and two by striker Deivid.

Cruzeiro, a two-time national champion, has lost three of its last four matches and entered the relegation zone after Sunday’s loss.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras had its winless streak extended to eight matches after a 2-0 home loss to Coritiba. Palmeiras is only 13th in the standings and is near relegation zone.

Six-time champion Sao Paulo dropped to eighth on Saturday after relinquishing a 3-1 lead late in the second half at Bahia, which won 4-3 to move further from relegation. Sao Paulo is winless in nine matches and now is five points from fourth-place, the last spot which will qualify for next year’s Copa Libertadores.

Atletico Mineiro also moved away from relegation by beating Gremio 2-0 in Sete Lagoas.