SAO PAULO (AP) – Defending champion Corinthians won its first match after six rounds of the Brazilian League on Sunday, beating rival Palmeiras 2-1 to leave it last place in the 20-team standings.
Recently signed striker Romarinho scored both goals for Corinthians, which got the win despite using its second stringers ahead of the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors on Wednesday. Palmeiras was also without some of its top players the entire match as it prepares for the final of the Brazilian Cup.
Corinthians, trying to win Latin America's most important club competition for the first time, remains in the relegation zone of the Brazilian league despite the win after losing four of its first five matches.
Cruzeiro took the league lead after defeating Vasco da Gama 3-1 on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro with a goal by Argentine playmaker Walter Montillo, while Ronaldinho scored his first goal for second-place Atletico Mineiro in the team's 5-1 rout of Nautico in Belo Horizonte.
Cruzeiro has 14 points, one more than Atletico Mineiro and two more than Vasco da Gama after six rounds.
Also Sunday, Deco scored in Fluminense's 4-1 win at Atletico Goianiense, while Neymar netted in Santos' 2-2 home draw with Coritiba, which is Palmeiras' opponent in the Brazilian Cup final. Santos, eliminated by Corinthians in the Copa Libertadores, also is in the relegation zone.
Mazinho scored for Palmeiras just five minutes into the match at the Pacaembu stadium, but Romarinho equalized in the 34th and netted the winner in the 56th to give Corinthians its first victory.
The result kept eight-time national champion Palmeiras winless, with only two points, in second-to-last place.
On Saturday, Ronaldinho converted a first-half penalty kick in his third match with Atletico Mineiro after leaving Flamengo and suing the club for nearly $20 million in unpaid wages. It was Ronaldinho's first home match with Atletico, which had won one game and lost another since the debut of the former two-time FIFA player of the year.
''It's a good sign to debut at home with a game like this,'' Ronaldinho said. ''We are going to be strong this year.''
Montillo netted his first goal in this year's competition to help Cruzeiro defeat Vasco da Gama at Sao Januario stadium on Saturday. Vasco fell from first to third with the home loss, the team's first overall. Cruzeiro remains the only unbeaten club after six rounds.
Also Saturday, six-time champion Sao Paulo lost 1-0 to Portuguesa at the Caninde stadium, a match that marked the debut of World Cup veteran goalkeeper Dida with Portuguesa.
Sao Paulo's defeat came just a few days after the team's disappointing elimination to Coritiba in the semifinals of the Brazilian Cup. Sao Paulo fans loudly complained about former Brazil striker Luis Fabiano, who has been playing below expectations. The fans are also unhappy with coach Emerson Leao.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo's Gremio, coming off elimination to Palmeiras in the semifinals of the Brazilian Cup, rebounded with a 2-0 victory over popular Brazilian club Flamengo, reaching fourth-place. Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno opened the scoring for Gremio at the Beira-Rio stadium in Porto Alegre.
In other results Sunday, Botafogo lost 2-1 at the Engenhao stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while striker Leandro Damiao helped Internacional beat Sport 2-0 in Recife.