By TALES AZZONI
2014-05-12 06:42 AM
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazil striker Fred scored an early goal to help Fluminense defeat Flamengo 2-0 and stay near the top of the Brazilian league on Sunday.
Fluminense has nine points after four rounds, one point behind leader Internacional, which rallied to beat Atletico Paranaense 2-1 on Saturday thanks to a goal by Argentine midfielder Andres D'Alessandro.
Corinthians was atop the table heading into the weekend but conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Sao Paulo, dropping to third place, two points behind Inter.
Defending champion Cruzeiro lost 2-1 to Atletico Mineiro for its first defeat of the championship, staying in fourth place. Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno scored the goal for Cruzeiro, which rested regular starters for the Copa Libertadores.
Argentine striker Barcos scored twice as fifth-place Gremio defeated Chapecoense 2-1 in Chapeco.
Fred put Fluminense ahead just 10 minutes into the match at the Maracana Stadium, and substitute striker Chiquinho sealed the victory in a breakaway in the 88th.
"We knew how to be aggressive and our counterattacks worked well in the end," said Fred, Brazil's likely starter at the World Cup next month.
Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club, has won only one match and is near the bottom of the 20-team standings.
Fluminense and Internacional are the only teams with three victories after four rounds.
Internacional, still unbeaten, went down a goal in the 53rd at the Beira-Rio Stadium on Saturday in Porto Alegre, but D'Alessandro struck a perfect low shot from outside the box to equalize the match just two minutes later. Midfielder Alan Patrick scored the winner in the 68th with a powerful left-footer into the top corner.
The match in front of nearly 35,000 fans marked the last official test event at the Beira-Rio, which will host five World Cup matches.
At the Arena Barueri, Corinthians was beating Sao Paulo 1-0 until the 80th minute but former Brazil striker Luis Fabiano equalized after a perfect through pass by playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso. Sao Paulo is unbeaten but hasn't won since the opener.
Cruzeiro's second-stringers moved ahead of rival Atletico Mineiro after Moreno's 37th-minute goal at the Independencia Stadium in Belo Horizonte. Marion equalized in the 55th and Andre converted a penalty kick for the winner in the 72nd, giving Atletico its first victory of the championship.
Cruzeiro had midfielder Luan red carded in the 75th, and Moreno was sent off after the match for complaining with the referee.
Atletico, the defending Copa Libertadores champion, played without Ronaldinho and striker Jo because of injuries. Cruzeiro rested its regular starters ahead of Wednesday's match against San Lorenzo in the quarterfinals of the Latin American competition. Cruzeiro lost the first leg 1-0 last week in Argentina.
On Saturday, Botafogo routed Criciuma 6-0 at the Maracana with three goals by midfielder Daniel, while eight-time champion Palmeiras snapped a two-match losing streak by beating Goias 2-0 at the Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo. Palmeiras still hasn't hired a coach to replace Gilson Kleina, who was fired last week.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni