Cruzeiro marches on in Brazil top flight


Cruzeiro edged closer to retaining its Brazilian league title courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 victory at slumping Santos.

Ricardo Goulart's 53rd-minute strike was enough to see Cruzeiro condemn Santos to a third consecutive defeat at the Estadio Urbana Caldeira.

The Brazil international played a neat one-two with strike partner Willian on the edge of the penalty area before firing the ball low and hard across Santos goalkeeper Aranha eight minutes into the second half.

League leader Cruzeiro - unbeaten in six outings - has collected 70 points from 34 games, four more than nearest rival Sao Paulo, which has played an extra match.

Santos is in freefall, occupying ninth position after a run of five games without a win.

Luis Fabiano scored his 100th Serie A goal for Sao Paulo in a 2-0 win at home to Palmeiras.

Luis Fabiano - in his third spell with the club - opened the scoring after 22 minutes at the Estadio Cicero Pompeu de Toledo, half-volleying Hudson's cross from the edge of the area.

Defender Rafael Toloi put the game beyond doubt with 11 minutes remaining, when he directed a ferocious volley into the roof of the net.

Sao Paulo, which played out a 1-1 draw with Internacional last week, is in the midst of a seven-game undefeated streak.

Gremio (+15) and Corinthians (+18) are level on 60 points with Internacional (+8), though the latter occupies third spot due to its superior number of matches won.

Paulao's 79th-minute strike gave Internacional, which has played an extra game, a 1-0 win against Goias - its 18th triumph of the season.

Gremio notched its 17th victory of the campaign after goals from Dudu, Hernan Barcos and Ramiro inspired a 3-0 rout of cellar-dwelling Criciuma, which is seven points adrift of safety.

Renato Augusto scored six minutes from time as Corinthians overcame second-bottom Bahia 2-1 on the road for win number 16.

In other results, sixth-placed Atletico Mineiro earned a 1-1 draw at home to Figueirense.

Fluminense was a 1-0 winner against third-bottom Botafogo and Vitoria climbed out of the drop zone with a 1-0 victory at Chapecoense, which dropped into the fourth and final relegation spot.

Flamengo downed relegation-threatened Coritiba 3-2, while Atletico PR lost 1-0 to Sport Recife.

Source Omnisport