Monday, 1 December 2008

Brazil: Sao Paulo Draw Keeps Title Race Alive Into Final Weekend

Sao Paulo missed a golden opportunity to secure their third consecutive Brazilian league title when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Fluminense on Sunday, allowing Gremio to close to within three points going into the final round of games.

Fluminense, their top flight status still not assured, put up a valiant fight against the league leaders and took the lead early in the second half through Tarta. Borges equalised for Sao Paulo less than ten minutes later, but they were unable to find a winner due to some resilient defending from the away side.

Gremio kept their title hopes alive with a 4-1 thrashing of Ipatinga - striker Marcel scoring twice as the Imortal Tricolor recovered from the early setback of going behind to record a well deserved victory. Despite their heroics, Sao Paulo only need a draw against Goias to take the title.

Palmeiras and Cruzeiro still hold the final two Copa Libertadores qualifying positions despite a draw and defeat respectively, as Flamengo were unable to capatalise, drawing 3-3 away to Goias and remaining fifth on goal difference.

Things are just as tight at the bottom of the table, with seven teams fighting it out to avoid the remaining three relegation spots alongside already demoted Ipatinga. Leandro Amaral scored twice to boost Vasco da Gama's hopes of survival with a 2-0 win away to Coritiba, but even a victory at home to Vitoria on the final day may not be enough to avoid relegation.

Full Results:

Coritiba 0-2 Vasco da Gama
Sao Paulo 1-1 Fluminense
Ipatinga 1-4 Gremio
Botafogo 1-3 Figueirense
Atletico Belo Horizonte 0-0 Santos
Internacional 1-0 Cruzeiro
Nautico 2-1 Atletico Paranaense
Vitoria 0-0 Palmeiras
Flamengo 3-3 Goias
Portuguesa 2-2 Sport Recife

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