Brasileiro Round 36: Late Vagner Love strike condemns Palmeiras to relegation

A last-minute goalfrom the former CSKA Moscow striker sent one of Brazil's biggest clubs down to the second tier, bringing to a close a miserable season for the Verdao

Brasileiro: Round 36 Results


Flamengo 1-1 Palmeiras

A 1-1 draw with Flamengo in Volta Redonda took Palmeiras' survival out of their own hands and, with results elsewhere going against them, their relegation was confirmed.

With their Brasileirao lives at stake, the Verdao began the match positively, actively taking the game to their hosts. They felt that they should have had a penalty early on when Hernan Barcos' header was blocked in the area by Renato Santos but the replays were inconclusive. Nevertheless, they continued to press and Tiago Real saw his ferocious shot sail narrowly wide of the post in the 18th minute. The Rubro-Negro soon awoke from their slumber but neither Amaral nor Vagner Love could find the net with decent chances before half time.

The Alviverde continued to fight and in the 63rd minute they finally got their reward. Vinicius, drifting in-field from the left, rifled the ball at Paulo Victor and the keeper was unable to keep the pacy effort out of the bottom corner. Fans of the Sao Paulo club looked to be taking a huge step towards safety when Paulo Sergio was dismissed with 20 minutes remaining, but the cracks began to show and the visitors threw it all away. With just one minute of normal time remaining, Vagner Love caught the defence off-guard to race through on goal. His shot looped off of the chasing Adalberto Roman, leaving Bruno with no chance as it flew into the back of the net.

Having failed to win, Palmeiras were relying on Gremio defeating Portuguesa later on Sunday evening.

Portuguesa 2-2 Gremio

Portuguesa confirmed the relegation of Palmeiras as they drew 2-2 with Gremio at Caninde, though their own future remains in the balance.

Both sides were extremely tentative during the opening period with a disallowed goal for the visitors then only thing occuring of note until Marcelo Grohe was forced to save from Rogerio on the stroke of half time.

The second half could not have contrasted further as within eight minutes of the restart Lusa took the lead. Moises was bundled over in the area by Naldo and the midfielder made sure from the spot himself, firing it straight down the middle. Leo Silva doubled the advantage shortly after the hour mark when he guided a smart finish past Marcelo Grohe, but the Imortal Tricolor refused to be beaten.

Substitute Andre Lima sprung the offside trap to nod home from Marquinhos' free-kick delivery and pull one back for the visitors and the comeback was completed in the 78th minute. Marquinhos once again supplied the assist as he played a give and go with Ze Roberto, setting the former Bayern Munich man through in the box. He used all his experience to keep the ball under close control, avoiding the challenge and prodding past Gledson to rescue a point for Vanderlei Luxemburgo's men.

Gremio remain in second and a win over already-relegated Figueirense next weekend will ensure an automatic place in the group stage of next year's Libertadores. Lusa, meanwhile, are just one point clear of the drop zone with two games remaining.

Atletico Mineiro 2-2 Atletico Goianiense

Atletico Mineiro were unable to regain second position in the Brasileiro as they had to come from behind to draw 2-2 with Atletico Goianiense.

The visitors have already had their fate of dropping down a division determined for a few weeks but they were certainly not wanting for motivation as they raced into a dominant position at the Independencia. With just four minutes on the clock Victor failed to deal with Diogo Campos' cross and Rayllan was on hand to drill the loose ball into the back of the net. In the 17th minute the Galo defence was dissected with ease as Ernandes burst in behind the defence. He rolled the ball across to Patric who tapped home into an empty net, stunning the home crowd in the process.

Rever halved the deficit moments later as he intercepted Bernard's shot to add a cool finish of his own, but the Alvinegro were unable to equalise before the break - Marcio kept out both Guilherme and Ronaldinho before Jo rattled the bar.

However, the equaliser did eventually come, but not until after Bernard, Jo and Ronaldinho had all hit the woodwork. In second-half stoppage time, 20-year-old sensation Bernard's cross was only cleared as far as Ronaldinho and the two-time World Player of the Year guided a precise shot into the bottom corner.

Galo remain third but will see the result as two points lost against the team who occupy the foot of the table.

Sao Paulo 2-1 Nautico

Sao Paulo secured their place in next season's Copa Libertadores as they overcame Nautico 2-1 at the Morumbi.

The Tricolor Paulista's late season form has been superb, though there was little sign of the spark that had sent them to a series of triumphs in the second half of the season. In a laborious first half, a shot from Lucas Moura that skidded narrowly wide of the goal was the closes either side came to breaking the deadlock.

But four minutes after half-time the first goal was scored, and it went the way of the Timbu. The brilliant Souza curled a marvellous free kick past Rogerio Ceni and into the top corner. Sao Paulo responded positively though and were level six minutes later. Felipe gave possession away cheaply and Osvaldo fumbled his way to the byeline before cutting the ball back for Luis Fabiano to head in.

New signing Ganso came on in place of Jadson for his debut to a rapturous applause in the second half, but it was a more established Morumbi hero that secured all the points. Fabiano was shunted to the ground inside the area in the 71st minute and Ceni assuredly dispatched the penalty.

Sao Paulo are now a certainty to take place in the Libertadores next season and can now focus on their Copa Sudamericana commitments. Nautico, however, have been quietly dragged into the relegation battle but a five-point gap between them and Sport Recife should be enough to keep them safe.

Best of the Rest

A 2-0 defeat to Santos ended Figueirense's hopes of remaining in the top flight while Sport Recife's were boosted with a 2-0 win against Botafogo. Jose Paolo Guerrero was on target as Corinthians beat Internacional 2-0 and champions Fluminense fell to a loss of the same scoreline against Cruzeiro. Bahia edged closer to safety with a 1-0 win over Ponte Preta and Lincoln's unbelievable strike for was not enough to stop Coritiba from going down 2-1 at home to Vasco da Gama.

Player of the Round

Undoubtedly one of the players of the season, Bernard was once again in dazzling form for Atletico Mineiro. The 20-year-old showcased all his greatest attributes in the 2-2 draw with Atletico Goianiense: his fluid, tight dribbling, his expert delivery, and always his fantastic shooting technique. Bernard had a key part in all of Galo's best moves and was unlucky not to find the net himself. It is no surprise that club president Alexandre Kalil has scoffed at suggestions the forward is set for a European move, but with performances like that he will have to fight off a fleet of potential suitors hoping to take him across the Atlantic Ocean.