The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Fred nets twice as Fluminense wins again in Brazilian league; Pato leads Sao Paulo to victory
SAO PAULO - Disgruntled striker Fred scored a pair of goals as Fluminense beat Sport 4-0 in the Brazilian league on Sunday, helping the club end a four-match winless streak and silencing fans who had protested against his poor performances recently.
Argentine playmaker Dario Conca also scored for Fluminense, which jumped to fifth in the standing with the victory at the Maracana.
Cruzeiro opened a seven-point lead atop the standings by beating Goias 1-0 in Goiania with a 25th-minute goal by Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno. It held on to the victory after Goias missed a penalty in injury time at the Serra Dourada Stadium.
It was the third win in a row for Cruzeiro, giving them 39 points with two rounds remaining before the championship's halfway point. No other team has had these many points at this stage of the competition.
Seeking its fourth national title, Cruzeiro has won 12 of its 17 matches and is unbeaten in nine rounds.
Fred had threatened not to play after upset fans punched and kicked the cars of some players following a loss last week. Fans also threw objects at players as they arrived at an airport in Rio following the team's third loss in four matches. Fred posted a statement denouncing the fans' behaviour and calling on local authorities and club officials to take action.
The 30-year-old striker was criticized by fans and media after a disappointing performance as Brazil's starter at the World Cup. He scored with headers in 42nd and 88th minutes on Sunday, and also set up midfielder Cicero's goal in the 35th. Conca closed the scoring from a free kick in the 50th.
Also Sunday, playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso and striker Alexandre Pato scored as Sao Paulo moved to second place by beating rival Santos 2-1 in Sao Paulo in a match marked by fan violence.
A few fans were hospitalized with minor wounds after a confrontation between rival groups who were on their way to Morumbi Stadium. The confrontation came less than a week after a Palmeiras fan died following a fight against Corinthians supporters. A Santos fan was beaten to death earlier this year in a fight against Sao Paulo supporters.
Ganso put Sao Paulo ahead with a neat left-footer in the 25th, and after Gabriel equalized by converting a penalty kick in the 86th, Pato netted the winner two minutes later from inside the area, giving Sao Paulo its fourth win in a row.
In Porto Alegre, Argentine striker Hernan Barcos scored in the 46th and 49th minutes to give Gremio a 2-1 win over fourth place Corinthians, which pulled one back through Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero in the 62nd. Guerrero was red carded in injury time after a confrontation with a Gremio player.
Flamengo picked up its fourth win in a row by beating Criciuma 2-0. Argentine midfielder Lucas Mugni and Brazilian born Croatia striker Eduardo da Silva scored a goal each in the second half.
On Saturday, third-place Internacional missed a chance to stay closer to the leaders after a 1-0 loss at Atletico Mineiro. Striker Diego Tardelli scored the winner for Atletico, which moved to sixth in the 20-team standings.
Also Saturday, Palmeiras edged Coritiba 1-0 at Pacaembu stadium to halt a 10-match winless streak in the league. The victory allowed the eight-time national champion, celebrating its centennial this week, to leave last place and move out of relegation zone. It was the team's first victory since Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca took over the traditional club, which had lost six times in seven matches under his command.
Coritiba, 19th in the standings, fired coach Celso Roth after the loss, the team's eighth in 17 matches.
Botafogo beat Chapecoense 1-0 at the Maracana to pick up its second win in three matches and move farther from relegation zone. The winning goal was scored in the first half by newly signed Peruvian playmaker Luis Ramirez, who curled a remarkable shot into the right upper corner.
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