Playmaker Diego Souza scored a hat trick as Vasco da Gama defeated Cruzeiro 3-0 to increase its lead in the Brazilian league on Sunday.

Corinthians regained second place by beating Bahia 1-0, while World Cup veteran midfielder Rivaldo scored late to help third-place Sao Paulo salvage a 2-2 draw with fourth-place Botafogo. Uruguay striker Sebastian ''El Loco'' Abreu netted both goals for Botafogo.

On Saturday, Flamengo ended a 10-match winless streak by beating last-place America 2-1 despite playing without suspended playmaker Ronaldinho.

Defending champion Fluminense drew with second-to-last place Atletico Paranaense 1-1 thanks to an injury-time penalty converted by Brazil striker Fred.