SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazil striker Fred scored from a first-half free kick to give defending champion Fluminense a 1-0 win over Corinthians 1-0 on Sunday, handing the Brazilian league leader its fourth loss in six games.
Corinthians remained atop the standings despite the loss because second-placed Vasco da Gama drew 1-1 with Figueirense and third-placed Sao Paulo fell 1-0 to Gremio. Fourth-placed Botafogo also could have reached the lead with a victory on Sunday but lost 5-0 to Coritiba.
In Sao Paulo, young Brazil sensation Leandro Damiao scored three goals to give Internacional a 3-0 win over Palmeiras, increasing his season tally to 40 goals.
Ronaldinho's Flamengo lost 2-1 at home to second-to-last place Atletico Paranaense, extending its winless streak to five matches.
Fred gave Fluminense its fourth win in a row with a long-range free kick that deflected off a defender and wrong-footed Corinthians goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the 22nd minute at the Engenhao stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
The result lifted Fluminense to fifth place in the 20-team standings, six points behind Corinthians, which was coming off a thrilling 2-1 win over Flamengo on Wednesday but still could not secure consecutive wins; it has not done so since July.
Vasco couldn't get past the draw with 10th-placed Figueirense at Orlando Scarpelli stadium in Florianopolis, while six-time champion Sao Paulo lost to Gremio after allowing a second-half goal at the Olimpico stadium in Porto Alegre. Sao Paulo could have taken sole possession of first place had it beaten two-time champion Gremio, which has won three in a row to reach 12th place after a struggling start.
Ronaldinho was not able to help Flamengo in the loss to Atletico Paranaense in Macae. Ecuadorean striker Joffre Guerron scored the winner for Atletico in the 46th but was ejected in the 70th for a hard foul. Guerron also set up Atletico's opening goal by Heracles in the first half.
At the Pacaembu stadium, Leandro Damiao added another great performance to his stunning season, scoring all three goals for Internacional in the victory over Luiz Felipe Scolari's Palmeiras in Sao Paulo. He put Internacional on the board in the 24th, then sealed the win in the 83rd and in second-half stoppage time.
Touted among the more promising stars in Brazil, Leandro Damiao has already scored 40 times this season, including a goal with the Brazilian national team in the friendly against Ghana earlier this month.
The result moved Internacional to seventh in the standings, while eight-time champion Palmeiras dropped to eighth. Palmeiras is winless in four matches and has won only twice in 11 rounds.
Also Sunday, Coritiba scored four second-half goals to earn a 5-0 home rout of Botafogo, which had won five in a row coming into Sunday.
On Saturday, Copa Libertadores champion Santos defeated Cruzeiro 1-0 at the Vila Belmiro stadium with the 16th goal by league-leading scorer Borges. He netted from close range after a play that started with young striker Neymar in the 12th.
Santos had two other goals disallowed by what appeared to be bad offside calls, according to television replays. Argentine playmaker Walter Montillo missed a first-half penalty for Cruzeiro, when Santos was up 1-0.
The result extended Santos' unbeaten streak to six matches. It is only 13th in the standings but has two games in hand.
Also Saturday, last-place America drew visiting Avai 2-2 in Sete Lagoas.