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In a game that had everything, the two-time World Player of the Year missed from 12 yards but atoned for his error with an assist that helped secure the runner-up spot



Brasileiro: Round 38 Results

Table/Fixtures


Atletico Mineiro 3-2 Cruzeiro

Atletico Mineiro ran out 3-2 winners over Belo Horizonte rivals Cruzeiro in a heated game at the Independencia that also saw three red cards.

With a huge amount of anticipation going into the game, it did not take long for the stadium to erupt as Bernard rifled in a controlled volley with just five minutes played. Ronaldinho failed to convert from the penalty spot in the 38th minute and Galo paid the price on the stroke of half-time. The Raposa equalised with a goal made in Argentina as Alejandro Martinuccio headed home from Walter Montillo's cross.

Everton was given acres of space to hand the visitors the lead shortly after the restart but both teams were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute as Leandro Donizete and Tinga were shown red. Momentum swung back the way of the Alvinegro and they were level on the hour mark as Leonardo Silva's header found the back of the net with a little help from Ceara. But it was the other centre-back for Cuca's side, Rever, who stole the show when he nodded in from Ronaldinho's corner to seal the win.

Anselmo Ramon was dismissed in the closing stages to end any hopes of a Cruzeiro equaliser and Gremio's inability to beat Internacional handed Atletico Mineiro second position.

Flamengo 2-2 Botafogo

Though neither team had anything to play for, Flamengo and Botafogo played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Engenhao.

Attendance was a poor 9000 for the Classico da Rivalidade but for those who travelled to the game they were rewarded with a bright start. With just five minutes on the clock, 18-year-old Sassa slotted home at the back post from Clarence Seedorf's cross to score his first goal for Botafogo on his first start. But the youngster was somewhat upstaged in the 33rd minute as Nixon, two years Sassa's senior, equalised with an improvised overhead kick.

Vitor Junior restored Fogao's advantage three minutes after the break when he slid home after some fantastic work by young wing-back Lima, but once again Oswaldo de Oliveira's side could not hold onto the lead. Vagner Love found the far corner with a delicate flick on Wellington Silva's cross which ensured he ended the season with 13 goals to his name.

Having looked like potential candidates for relegation, the Rubro-Negro will no doubt be comfortable with their 11th-placed finish while Botafogo once again missed out on qualification for the continent's premier club competition as they placed seventh.

Sao Paulo 3-1 Corinthians

Sao Paulo ended an impressive season with a 3-1 win over city rivals Corinthians at the Morumbi.

The Tricolor Paulista rested a number of first-choice players as Ney Franco had one eye on the first leg of their Copa Sudamericana final against Tigre in midweek. It looked as though it was going to be a long game for them as Joao Filipe was dispossessed by Douglas on the edge of his own area and Jose Paolo Guerrero was able to fire into the bottom corner.

However, Ganso soon stepped into the spotlight for his new club and his two assists put Sao Paulo ahead before half-time. A delightful chipped pass put Douglas through for the equaliser and a nice combination with Maicon was completed when he curled in a majestic strike.

Jorge Henrique was sent off midway through the second half as he let his frustration at a disallowed goal show and Maicon wrapped up the points following an embarrassing error from Wallace.

Willian Jose also saw red in the closing stages but the result stayed the same ensuring Sao Paulo ended the season in fourth while deposed champions Corinthians finished in sixth.

Santos 3-1 Palmeiras

Palmeiras were unable to salvage some pride on the final day of the season as a Neymar-inspired Santos emerged triumphant at the Vila Belmiro.

There were suggestions of a positive evening for the Verdao as Maikon Leite latched onto a long ball and rocketed home the opening goal against his old club, but a combination of two Santos youth products proved decisive. After rounding the keeper, the angles were against Neymar so he opted to pass to Victor Andrade and the 17-year-old scored his third of the season.

Neymar then put the Peixe ahead from the penalty spot after Adalberto Roman hauled him to the ground, and was subsequently dismissed in the 23rd minute. And the 20-year-old then added his second shortly before the break with a smart finish after some impressive control from Patricio Rodriguez's cross and Palmeiras never looked like coming back.

Santos finish in eighth place, though Copa Libertadores football could have been a possibility had Neymar not been so heavily involved with the national team, while Palmeiras drop down to Serie B.

Best of the Rest

Fluminense's title-winning campaign ended in a 2-1 defeat to Rio de Janeiro rivals Vasco da Gama, while in the Gre-Nal derby Gremio were unable to beat Internacional and thus slipped down to third. A 0-0 draw against Ponte Preta was enough for Portuguesa to ensure their safety while Sport Recife were unable to defeat Nautico in the Classico dos Classicos. Bahia kept their heads above water with a 1-0 defeat over already-relegated Atletico Goianiense and Coritiba picked up three points with a comfortable 3-0 win against Figueirense.

Player of the Round

It could have been a different story for Santos had Neymar not had to miss so many games in order to represent Brazil, particularly at the Olympics. The Peixe missed their talisman while he was away, and his galvanising effect was nowhere more evident than in his part in the 3-1 victory over Palmeiras. The 20-year-old set up the opener after an intelligent run, and then used his immense composure and control to bag himself a tidy couple of goals before the break. But with no Copa Libertadores football for 2013, is it time that the youngster moved on?

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