Brazil Serie A Wrap: Coritiba earn top spot
By Football News
Coritiba have risen to the top of Brazil's Serie A above Sao Paulo and Cruzeiro with a 2-1 victory over reigning champions Fluminense.
In a dramatic finish at Coritiba's Estadio Major Antonio Couto Pereira, the home side's skipper Alex unleashed a scorching strike to wrap up victory, handing Fluminense their second defeat from three games in all competitions.
Thursday's win took Coritiba to eight points from four matches, putting them first on the Serie A table, one point ahead of six clubs, including Cruzeiro and Sao Paulo.
Cruzeiro had held top position with their 1-0 victory over Corinthians on Wednesday as Sao Paulo dropped to second with a shock 1-0 loss at home to Goias, but Coritiba maintained their undefeated start to the new season to overhaul the Belo Horizonte-based club.
Alex was the match-winner in more ways than one on Thursday, setting up Coritiba's opening goal for Robinho in the 16th minute with a pinpoint cross from the left wing.
Fluminense equalised seven minutes later when Wagner's corner found Carlinhos at the near post and the visiting defender flicked a header past Coritiba goalkeeper Vanderlei.
Alex, who joined Coritiba from Fenerbahce just before the 2013 Serie A season, snatched all three points in front of his home crowd in the 88th minute, bursting forward, before thumping a swerving shot past Ricardo Berna, although the Fluminense goalkeeper could have done better as the ball appeared to slip through his hands.
In the lead-up to the mid-week round in Brazil's top division, Sao Paulo, Vitoria and Botafogo led the way but all three clubs lost, allowing Cruzeiro, Gremio and Bahia to join them on seven points.
Gremio have a game in hand and strengthened their early title credentials with a 1-0 triumph over Vitoria after Elano's wonderful curling free-kick in the second half, while Bahia defeated Botafogo 2-1 thanks to a brace from Fernandao.
Atletico PR edged out Ponte Preta in a seven-goal thriller, with Marcao scoring the winner in second-half stoppage time, while Criciuma defeated Santos 3-1.
In other results, Vasco da Gama won 2-0 over Atletico Mineiro, Nautico claimed a 1-0 win away to Flamengo and Portuguesa were held to a 1-1 draw by Internacional.