Brasileiro Round 29: Luis Fabiano strike puts Sao Paulo within touching distance of Copa Libertadores qualification

The Brazilian international scored his 14th goal of the season to help his side climb right into the mix for a place in the continent's premier club tournament

Brasileiro: Round 29 Results


Vasco da Gama 0-2 Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo earned a potentially massive three points as they defeated close rivals Vasco da Gama 2-0 at the Sao Januario.

Ney Franco's side have hit fine form at the right moment and following this win in Rio de Janeiro, they have now secured 13 points from a possible 15 in their five latest fixtures. They were almost set on their way to victory after just 15 minutes as Osvaldo's shot was saved by Fernando Prass, but he could not stop the rebound falling to Luis Fabiano. The striker's first touch let him down and in trying to shuffle the ball out from under he offered Thiago Feltri the time to make an excellent block to keep the deadlock intact. But just six minutes later he did find the net. After shrugging of a weak challenge from Alecsandro, Luis Fabiano bore down on goal and rifled a shot in off the post from 20 yards.

Both Rogerio Ceni and Prass were called into action before the break but neither were beaten, ensuring there was just one goal in it at the break. But with just three minutes of the second half played, the Tricolor Paulista doubled their advantage through Osvaldo. The pacy forward beat Auremir down the left flank twice before bending an exquisite shot in at the far post after cutting in onto his right foot. Vasco responded positively from then on but a string of brilliant saves from Ceni kept the visitors ahead until the final whistle.

Victory takes Sao Paulo to within a single point of fourth-placed Vasco who, for the time being, occupy the last Copa Libertadores qualification spot.

Internacional 3-0 Atletico Mineiro

Internacional maintained their Libertadores hunt by defeating title-chasing Atletico Mineiro 3-0 at the Beira-Rio.

Galo came into this game off the back of the 6-0 thumping of Figueirense last weekend but they seemed to be a shadow of that side for large parts. With Victor away on international duty with the Brazil national team, Giovanni was restored to the starting line-up and after a rather slow start he showed no sign of rustiness when tested for the first time. With 24 minutes played the keeper did brilliantly well to fling a hand out and divert a goal-bound header from Rafael Moura, who took the place of Brazil international Leandro Damiao.

Despite another decent stop to keep out Josimar soon after the break, Giovanni was finally beaten in the 66th minute as Jackson Souza arrowed a rising effort into the roof of the net. After a month out through injury, Dagoberto was brought on for the Colorado in the closing stages and he had a marvellous impact. His header found Fred, who turned Carlos Cesar in the area with ease, and the youngster poked home the evening's second goal. Cassiano completed the scoring three minutes from time as he headed in after a brilliant run and cross from Dagoberto.

Atletico Mineiro drop to third following defeat while Internacional maintain their positive momentum in sixth place.

Corinthians 3-2 Flamengo

Despite having already qualified for South America's premier club tournament next year, Corinthians' rise up the table continued as they overcame Flamengo 3-2 at the Pacaembu.

After a couple of promising wins, Dorival Junior's men have struggled to retain that momentum and have been dragged ever closer to the relegation zone. Nevertheless, they almost took a surprise lead as Renato Abreu's swerving 35-yard shot almost found the top corner midway through the first half. Paulo Andre went close for the Timao soon after but it was the visitors who would the game's first goal as Renato Santos showed superb control to divert Ibson's in-swinging free kick into the back of the net on the volley.

Corinthians rallied in the second half though and with the aid of their home fans, they turned the game on its head. With 30 minutes remaining Fabio Santos pounced on a loose pass from Wellington Silva and Edenilson added the finishing touch to the left-back's cross. Paulo Andre doubled the advantage of Tite's team when he rose, unmarked, to power a header in from Douglas' corner 15 minutes later. Wellington Bruno hit the bar for the visitors moments later but Emerson Sheik put the game beyond reach when he slammed in from Edenilson's pass. Liedson managed to grab a consolation goal against his former club in stoppage time but it did not alter the outcome.

The Alvinegro now occupy seventh position but the retention of their title is almost mathematically impossible. Flamengo sit in 15th place, nine points clear of the drop zone.

Bahia 0-2 Fluminense

Fluminense took a huge step towards reclaiming the Brasileiro title with a competent 2-0 win over Bahia in Salvador.

Atletico Mineiro's defeat to Internacional offered Fluzao the chance to widen the gap at the top and their resilience proved impressive as they ground out the result they needed. Yet it did not always look as though that would be the case. With just seven minutes played Jussandro was played in behind the defence after a surging run down the left. He tried to tuck the ball in at the far post but missed the target, leaving an unmarked Ze Roberto livid. Helder then hit the bar from a free kick soon after as Abel Braga's men looked to be struggling. There were brief signs of life before the break but Wellington Nem was unable to add the finishing touch to Fred's knock-down inside the area.

The Tricolor Carioca upped their game in the second half and there was little that Bahia could do to resist them. With 59 minutes played the first goal was finally scored and it went the way of the Rio outfit. Coming in off the right flank, Bruno Vieira did superbly to beat three players with two touches before sliding a shot below Marcelo Lomba. Two minutes later Lulinha rattled the post with an excellent effort but Rafael Sobis ensured Flu would head back home with all the points as he volleyed an emphatic strike in off the bar with 15 minutes remaining.

Fluminense now hold a nine-point advantage over both Gremio and Galo at the summit of the league while Bahia remain 16th.
Best of the Rest

Relegation looms ever-larger for Palmeiras as they were beaten 1-0 at home by fellow candidates for the drop, Coritiba. In the absence of Neymar, Santos still managed to come out on top in the visit to Botafogo, defeating Clarence Seedorf's side 2-0. Cruzeiro overcame Portuguesa by the same score while Ponte Preta ended a run of six games without a win as they downed Nautico 2-1. Figueirense came out on top 3-1 against Atletico Goianiense as Sport Recife also lost 3-1 to Gremio.

Player of the Round
While the likes of Lucas Moura, Luis Fabiano and Jadson may grab the majority of the headlines, Osvaldohas been superb at Sao Paulo this season. The tricky forward was a constant thorn in the side of Vasco da Gama, regularly creating fantastic chances and scoring a majestic strike to put his side in a commanding position. His goals in recent weeks, four in his last five games, have been key to keeping his side in the hunt for Copa Libertadores football.