Brazil Serie A wrap: Gremio show grit, Santos hold Atletico
Fluminense and Gremio played out a thrilling draw in Brazili Serie A action, but Atletico Mineiro failed to make the most of the result.
In an exciting encounter between table-topping Fluminense and third-placed Gremio, the latter fought back for a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange, despite Gremio being reduced to 10-men.
The match burst into life following a goalless first-half as visiting Gremio opened their account through Elano, the former Manchester City midfielder firing a free kick from just outside the area beneath the wall and into the back of the net.
Fluminense produced an emphatic response, though, going ahead in a five-minute burst that started just after the hour as Digao volleyed home just before Rafael Sobis smashed in a spectacular 25-yard effort.
Striker Marcelo Moreno was introduced as Gremio looked to re-take the ascendancy, but the Bolivian forward was just as quickly off the pitch as he was on, having received a straight red for striking Solbis.
Despite being a man down, Gremio showed off a stubborn streak as Ze Roberto picked up a loose ball with five minutes remaining, poking home the equaliser to round off an enthralling clash.
Despite the draw, second-placed Atletico Mineiro could not reduce the 10-point margin between themselves and Fluminense as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Santos (11th).
In an odd encounter, all four goals were scored in the opening 27 minutes as Santos began like a rocket, scoring in the first and 11th minutes through Ezequiel Miralles and Neymar respectively.
However, Bernard pulled one back for Atletico in the 18th minute and Jo levelled proceedings nine minutes later.
Sixth-place Internacional suffered their second consecutive defeat, conceding two goals in the final three minutes as they slumped to a 3-2 loss to relegation-threatened Figueirense.
Things looked grim for Figueirense late in the encounter as goals to Dagoberto and Rafael Moura more than cancelled out Aloisio's goal, leaving the club second-last on the table, 10 points adrift of relegation safety at the time.
But in a stunning turnaround, Roni levelled the scores in the 88th minute before Aloisio completed his brace two minutes later to give Figueirense some hope of avoiding the drop.
Cruzeiro, meanwhile, have climbed to seventh through a 2-0 win over Corinthians, whose title defence continues to flounder as they drop to eighth.
In other results, Coritiba climbed to ninth through a 2-1 win over Nautico (12th), Portuguesa fought out a goalless draw with Flamengo (15th) as Palmeiras (17th) gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation by winning their first match in four games in a 1-0 result over Bahia (16th).