Internacional 3-2 Corinthians
Three straight wins had shot Adílson Batista's Corinthians side to the top of the Série A with a game in hand, but Inter managed to (temporarily at least) derail their title charge in a rip-roaring game at the Beira-Rio. Corinthians were still without a number of first team players, among them Chicão, Ralf, Dentinho, and Ronaldo, while Inter made three changes from the side that went down to Atlético-PR; Renan, Nei, and Sorondo replaced Pato Abbondanzieri, Bolívar, and Wilson Mathías.
In a tense opening period, it was the home side who got their noses in front. Andrés D'Alessandro poked a clever through ball into the path of Tinga, who coolly slotted past Júlio César to open the scoring. Corinthians twice went close to equalising before the interval, but Jorge Henrique and Bruno César were denied by Renan and the crossbar respectively. The start of the second half brought far more chances; some brave 'keeping from Renan denied Iarley, before D'Alessandro tested Júlio César at the other end.
With 65 minutes on the clock, the Timão found an equaliser. Jucilei released Jorge Henrique on the left, and the little forward curled an impeccable shot into the far corner of the net. Within minutes, it ought to have been two, but Bruno César could only find the woodwork again with the goal at his mercy. Instead, it was Inter who netted their second; D'Alessandro, a torment to Corinthians throughout, crossed for substitute Alecsandro to bundle home at the far post.
Things were all set up for an exciting finish, but few could have predicted the events that would unfold. Corinthians defender Paulo André thought he'd scored with a powerful header, only to see his effort brilliantly tipped over by Nei. Unfortunatly for Inter, Nei is an outfield player, and was thus promptly sent off. Bruno César made no mistake from the spot, blasting the ball down the centre. The visitors surely thought they'd rescued a point, but it was not to be. Paulo André gave away a free-kick just outside the box (and received his second yellow for the incident), which Inter dead-ball specialist Andrezinho stepped up to take. His effort flicked off the wall and off the post before settling in the back of the net, sending a packed Beira-Rio into raptures.
Gameweek 25 Round-up
Santos put an abrupt end to Cruzeiro's run of wins, emphatically beating the Belo Horizonte club 4-1 at the Arena Barueri. After a goalless first half, Marcel's scuffed strike put the Peixe ahead, before Edu Dracena headed home a second from Marquinhos' free-kick. Thiago Ribeiro smashed in at the near post to reduce the arrears, but Alex Sandro's wonder goal quickly extinguished any hope of a comeback; the left-back ran from his own half before sensationally lobbing Fábio in the Raposa goal. Que golaço! Neymar added a fine individual goal of his own in injury time, turning his marker inside out before slotting home. In Campinas, Baiano scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, giving Guarani victory over Vasco.
Atlético Goianiense picked up a great result against fellow strugglers Grêmio Prudente, winning 3-0 at the Serra Dourada. Agenor bundled home the first from a cross, before Thiago Feltri volleyed home a smart second. Marcão completed the scoring, powerfully heading past Giovanni in the Abelha goal. Goiás did their survival hopes the world of good, too, embarrassing the mighty São Paulo at the Morumbi. The Esmeraldino took the lead when Carlos Alberto poked home, before taking control of the game. Rafael Moura added a second after good work by Felipe, and then himself rounded off the scoring, rocketing home from a tight angle.
Luiz Felipe Scolari finally seems to be moulding his Palmeiras charges into a decent side; the Verdão beat Flamengo convincingly at the Engenhão on Saturday. A first half Kléber brace (the first a penalty, the second a low drive) put Palmeiras in the driving seat, before Petkovic brought Fla back into contention from the spot. A late Lincoln goal, however, sealed the points for the São Paulo side. Sunday's game at the same stadium (which could host up to 120 games within the next year) saw Atlético Paranaense hold Botafogo to a 1-1 draw. Edno's snapshot put O Glorioso ahead, but a late individual goal by Guerrón ensured the points were shared.
Fluminense went back to the top of the standings, thanks to a tight away win over Vitória. The Tricolor went ahead from the penalty spot (Darío Conca converting after Rodriguinho was felled in the area) before being pegged back when Rafael's fumble allowed Henrique to scramble home. Flu would win it, however, thanks to the same attacking combination; this time Rodriguinho getting on the scoresheet following a smart Conca pass. Dorival Júnior's first game in charge of Atlético Mineiro ended in defeat, as the Galo went down 2-1 to Grêmio. Jonas pounced on a rebound to put the Tricolor Gaúcho into a third minute lead, before Gabriel bustled into the area to clip home a second. Diego Tardelli's header would prove no more than a consolation for Atlético.
Avaí finally brought their horrid run of form to an end, beating Ceará for their first win since the 15th of August. They did so in some style, too, with five unanswered goals at the Ressacada. Rudnei poked the Florianópolis side ahead with their first attack of the game, before Davi converted a penalty to double the advantage. Jéferson then decided to have his own personal goal of the week contest, smashing in two glorious drives, one with each foot. Davi rounded off an impressive performance in the second half with a delicate curling effort.
Results; São Paulo 0-3 Goiás, Atlético-GO 3-0 Grêmio Prudente, Santos 4-1 Cruzeiro, Guarani 1-0 Vasco, Flamengo 1-3 Palmeiras, Botafogo 1-1 Atlético-PR, Vitória 1-2 Fluminense, Internacional 3-2 Corinthians, Avaí 5-0 Ceará, Atlético-MG 1-2 Grêmio.
(Photo credits; (1) Ricardo Rimoli, (2) Miguel Schincaroil.)