Brasileiro Round 33: Lucas Moura hat-trick guides Sao Paulo to valuable three points

The 20-year-old scored a fantastic treble to return the Tricolor Paulista to winning ways, ensuring they stay on course for a spot in next year's Copa Libertadores

Brasileiro: Round 33 Results


Sport Recife 2-4 Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo bounced back from defeat to Flamengo in the previous round by overcoming Sport Recife 4-2 at the Ilha do Retiro.

Suggestions of a late wobble as Ney Franco's side looked to cement their place in next season's Copa Libertadores were given further credence as the hosts took an early lead. Gilberto headed in from Cicinho's corner in the 14th minute, stunning the Tricolor Paulista in the process. But, Sao Paulo were unperturbed and restored parity just four minutes later. Lucas Moura picked up the ball on the right and sauntered in field before arrowing a ferocious 30-yard strike past Saulo. Lucas doubled his tally on the half-hour mark, though it was certainly more by fortune than skill. Saulo dropped Luis Fabiano's cross right at the 20-year-old's feet to which he duly poked the ball into the empty net.

The visitors went into the break with a two-goal advantage as Rivaldo's attempted challenge on Cortez resulted in him looping the ball into the back of his own net, and in the 59th minute the game was put to rest. After a one-two with Fabiano, Lucas stayed composed under pressure and slid the ball into the bottom corner. There was still time for a late consolation as Hugo converted from the spot 10 minutes from time, but Sao Paulo had done enough for the win.

Franco's team remain in fourth position and hold a seven-point advantage over fifth-placed Internacional, while Sport fall four points adrift of safety.

Fluminense 2-1 Coritiba

Fluminense avoided a late scare from the visitors as they emerged as 2-1 winners against Coritiba at the Engenhao.

Following defeat to their title rivals, Atletico Mineiro, Fluzao set about restoring their nine-point lead at the Brasileiro summit with a bright opening in Rio de Janeiro. Within 10 minutes Thiago Neves came close to breaking the deadlock as he rattled the bar with a free kick from wide on the left, but it only took another six minutes until the scoring started. Wellington Nem pounced on a loose ball by Deivid and charged into the area, where he placed his second goal in as many games past Vanderlei.

Abel Braga's team came under little pressure from the visitors throughout the match, though the second goal remained elusive. That was to change on 70 minutes, though, when Wellington Nem shook off his marker before clipping a cross to the back post, where Thiago Neves was on hand to nod in. Everton Ribeiro halved the deficit for Coxa late on, but it was too little too late as they fell to their first defeat in seven games.

Flu stay at the summit but would have to wait for Atletico Mineiro to play on Wednesday to see how big their advantage would be. Coritiba fall to 12th position but look to have done enough to avoid relegation.

Botafogo 4-0 Atletico Goianiense

Botafogo were victorious for their third successive fixture as they brushed aside Atletico Goianiense in a 4-0 thrashing at the Engenhao.

Fogao got off to a great start as Bruno Mendes received the ball in the area and back-heeled it to Nicolas Lodeiro. The Uruguayan then rolled it into the path of Clarence Seedorf who slotted home his eighth of the season with 21 minutes played. Oswaldo de Oliveira's side were in total control and they took a more comfortable lead into the break, as 17-year-old centre-back Doria glanced a header in from Andrezinho's free kick.

The Dragao were given little opportunity to find a route back into the game as another youngster, 20-year-old Gabriel, saw his long-range effort deflected past Marcio just three minutes after the restart. The Glorioso went into cruise control but managed to grab a fourth late on. Teenage striker Bruno Mendes netted his fifth goal in as many games with a sweetly-struck 25-yard effort in the 80th minute. To add to the visitors' woes, Diego Giaretta was shown a red card for picking up two bookings in the closing 15 minutes.

Botafogo's improved form of late have seen them shoot back up to sixth place, but they remain eight points away from a Libertadores spot. Atletico Goianiense must now defeat reigning champions Corinthians at the weekend or they will be relegated.

Atletico Mineiro 1-1 Flamengo

Atletico Mineiro were unable to make the most of their dominance as the could only muster a 1-1 draw with Flamengo at the Independencia.

Galo assumed control of the game immediately, controlling possession and penning the Rubro-Negro back in their own half. However, they were unable to open the scoring when Ronaldinho was denied a penalty against his former club, before Jo rattled the crossbar with an excellent effort from distance. It came as a surprise then when Atletico Mineiro took the lead after 27 minutes. With their first attack of the game, Renato Abreu rifled a sweetly-struck long-range effort that skidded past Victor and into the bottom corner.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men shortly before the break, as Wellington Silva received his second yellow card, and it only took 13 second-half minutes for the Alvinegro to make their numerical advantage count. Bernard's pinpoint cross from the left was headed into the net, with a little help from the post, by substitute Leonardo. Ronaldinho was unfortunate not to complete the job against his former team, as his excellent free kick in the closing stages came back off the post.

Flamengo, who remain 14th, unwittingly did arch rivals Fluminense a favour as the Tricolor Carioca now hold an eight-point advantage over second-placed Galo, dealing a severe blow to the Cuca's hopes of a title challenge.

Best of the Rest

Santos were unable to defeat Nautico as the pair played out a 0-0 draw at the Vila Belmiro, while Figueirense and Portuguesa also drew by the same score. Vasco da Gama's awful form continued as they lost 1-0 to Corinthians, which also saw Cruzeiro drop further off the pace as they were defeated by Ponte Preta. Palmeiras saw the gap to safety widen to five points, as they were overcome 2-1 by Internacional, while Gremio's title hopes were all but extinguished following their 1-1 draw at Bahia.

Player of the Round

When he moves to Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the year, Sao Paulo will sorely miss Lucas Moura. The youngster has produced some of his best form since his transfer to the Ligue 1 side was announced and he will be able to leave the Morumbi with his head held high. Lucas will be remembered for performances like the one he gave against Sport Recife - running at and terrorising defenders whilst also providing a cutting edge in front of goal. His hat-trick helped ensure a 4-2 win that puts the Tricolor Paulista well on their way to returning to the Copa Libertadores next year.