Brazil Serie A wrap: Palmeiras bag vital win, Vasco stage comeback
Palmeiras have picked up a crucial 3-0 win over Ponte Preta as they strive to avoid relegation in Brazil's Serie A.
Hernan Barcos scored twice in the first half and Marcos Assuncao added a long-range goal with half an hour to play as Palmeiras won their second game in a row and moved to within two points of safety with 11 matches left in the season.
Barcos scored in the 12th and 15th minutes to give the home team an early two-goal lead, with his second strike coming after Maikon Leite stole the ball off his Ponte Preta opponent and then set up the towering Palmeiras striker for a tap-in.
Assuncao wrapped up the win in the 60th minute with a powerful drive from outside the box that found the bottom corner of the net.
Atletico Mineiro's poor run of form continued on Saturday with a 1-1 draw away to 13th-placed Portuguesa, while Vasco da Gama came from behind to win 3-1 against Figueirense.
Second-placed Mineiro went behind to a Leo Silva strike in the 51st minute but managed to claim a draw when Bernard scored a quarter of an hour later.
However, that result means Serie A-leaders Fluminense could move six points clear of Mineiro if they defeat bitter rivals Flamengo on Sunday.
In Rio de Janeiro, Figueirense stunned the home crowd at Vasco's stadium when Caio scored in the 13th minute.
But Vasco were level by half-time thanks to Luan Teixeira's 34th-minute goal, which was set up by Juninho Pernambucano.
The 37-year-old attacking midfielder grabbed another assist six minutes after the break, with Carlos Tenorio taking advantage of his fine pass and Juninho capped off a fine individual performance in the 80th minute with Vasco's third goal of the game.
Vasco remain fourth in the league standings, just two points behind third-placed Gremio, who have a game in hand.
Meanwhile, Cruzeiro played out a goalless draw with Internacional and Nautico defeated Atletico GO 2-0.