The 28-year-old striker helped rescue his side from a disappointing result with his 15th goal of the season, ensuring that they retain a healthy lead in their pursuit of the title.
Atletico Mineiro were forced to come from behind to defeat 10-man Sport Recife 2-1 at the Independencia.
Brasileiro: Round 30 Results
Brasileiro: Round 30 Results
|Atletico Mineiro 2-1 Sport Recife
After a fantastic start to the season Galo's form has tailed off of late, with just one win in the six games prior to this clash, a run of form which has seen them relinquish control of the Brasileiro.
It looked as though things would only get worse for the hosts. Following Jo's inability to find the net in a one-on-one situation with just five minutes played, the visitors went on the attack. Giovanni made a brilliant save to deny Rithely, but there was nothing he could do to stop an unmarked Hugo's header from finding the top corner 16 minutes in.
The Alvinegro responded positively, with Marcos Rocha finding acres of space on the right flank, but for all his impressive play his team-mates provided no end product.
That did not come until there was just 15 minutes left on the clock. With Galo's title bid looking in serious jeopardy, Ronaldinho provided a pin-point delivery from wide on the right that was met by the head of Leonardo who nodded in the equaliser.
The hosts' chances of taking all three points were given a massive boost when Hugo was dismissed in the 83rd minute, and they took full advantage.
Another star of Atletico's campaign provided the assist. Bernard showed superb pace and strength to fight his way into the area, before slipping a pass to Leonardo to slot in a stoppage-time winner.
Atletico Mineiro return to second position in the league while Sport stay in 17th place, a worrying eight points adrift of safety.
|Fluminense 2-1 Ponte Preta
Fluminense left it late, but managed to secure their fifth-consecutive win as they overturned a one-goal deficit to beat Ponte Preta 2-1 at the Sao Januario.
The Rio de Janeiro club have been in imperious form this season and so it came as a huge surprise when they went behind to the visitors from the bottom half of the table.
With barely two minutes on the clock, a succession of passes from the Macaca ended with Luan curling a beautiful 20-yard effort past Diego Cavalieri and into the corner of the net. Both sides could have added to the score in the following minutes, but after Roger fired into the side netting, Fred was unable to hit the target as he stretched to reach a cross on the volley.
Edson Bastos was forced into a string of saves either side of the break with some excellent goalkeeping, ensuring that both Digao and Wellington Nem did not get their names on the scoresheet.
However, all his good work was undone as Wendel picked up his second yellow card in the 73rd minute, and a Fluzao onslaught followed. Fred restored parity from the spot with his 15th goal of the season following a handball in the area and in the 89th minute the comeback was complete. Edson Bastos failed to claim Wagner's free kick and the towering Gum headed home at the near post.
Victory ensures that Fluminense retain their nine-point cushion over the chasing pack, while Ponte Preta are in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle in 14th position.
|Coritiba 2-1 Bahia
Coritiba took another step closer to safety as they beat Bahia 2-1 in a bottom-half battle at the Couto Pereira.
With the two sides level on points and occupying the two places just above the relegation zone, you would have been forgiven for expecting a somewhat cagey affair in Coritiba, yet the opening 16 minutes could not have been further from that suggestion.
After a bright start from the visitors, it was Coxa who took the lead as Lucas Claro powered in a header from Rafinha's corner in the 11th minute. They did not hold the advantage for long though, as Alysson diverted Neto's free kick into the back of the net with the slightest of touches soon after.
Having made a brilliant save to keep Deivid out in the first-half, Marcelo Lomba was at it again after the break, making a terrific double-save to keep out both Junior Urso and Everton Ribeiro.
But, with the lively Rafinha among the Coritiba players turning up the pressure, they eventually took the lead. With 17 minutes left to play Deivid was unchallenged as he rose to nod in Gil's cross. Bahia had no response and the Alviverde saw the game out to take another massive three points.
Three consecutive triumphs have seen Coritiba shoot up the table to the 12th position, while Bahia sit in 16th place and have an eight-point gap over the drop zone.
|Santos 2-0 Vasco da Gama
Santos faced little resistance as they strolled to a 2-0 victory over a lacklustre Vasco da Gama at the Vila Belmiro.
The Peixe were unable to count upon the services of the talismanic Neymar, but that did not stop them from making a brilliant start. There were only nine minutes on the clock when Bill spotted the diagonal run of Ezequiel Miralles and slipped a superb through-ball to the striker's feet. The Argentine took the ball in his stride and picked out the far corner, guiding the ball past Fernando Prass. Eder Luis had the ball in the back of the net moments later, only to see the assistant referee raise his flag for an offside decision.
The Gigante de Colina keeper had done brilliantly to keep out a couple of Bruno Peres efforts in the first-half, but he was beaten just two minutes into the second period. This time it was Felipe Anderson who supplied the ammunition for Miralles to fire home his third goal in two games.
Santos eased off after that strike and had to rely on Rafael to keep the scores level, as he smothered Vasco's best chance, which fell to Eder Luis.
The seaside club who now lie in ninth position, while Vasco were ousted from the final qualification spot and dropped down to fifth place in the table.
|Best of the Rest
Luis Fabiano was on target once again as Sao Paulo brushed Figueirense aside 2-0 at the Morumbi, moving up to fourth position in the process. Flamengo and Cruzeiro played out a 1-1 draw, while a late goal from Bruno Mendes ensured that Botafogo earned a point against Gremio by the same scoreline. Internacional's Libertadores hopes took a huge knock as they threw away the lead and lost 3-1 to bottom club Atletico Goianiense. Fellow strugglers Palmeiras failed to match that result as they were beaten 1-0 in Recife by Nautico and their arch rivals Corinthians were also unable to take maximum points, as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Portuguesa.
|Player of the Round
Coritba may not be battling for the positions at the top end of the table, but they do possess some real quality, particularly in the likes of Rafinha. The pacy attacking midfielder added to his growing reputation with another lively performance, as Coxa secured a crucial win at home to Bahia.
He buzzed across the forward line, charging into areas of space and causing the Salvador side no end of trouble. He should perhaps have got himself a goal in the second-half, but failed to hit the target with his header. Nevertheless, his side took the three points and with such players among their ranks Coritiba have every chance of maintaining their place in the Brasileiro next season.