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Brazilian League: four teams fight for leadership
14:10, July 31, 2008

Four teams fight for the position of leader in the 16th round of the Brazilian League, while some of the most traditional football clubs in the country struggle to escape relegation.

Rio's Flamengo, who was the League's leader until mid-July, lost by 1-0 to Sao Paulo state's Palmeiras and fell two positions, ending in fourth.

It is Flamengo's third defeat in five rounds.

Meanwhile, Minas Gerais state's Cruzeiro beat Pernambuco state's Nautico by 4-2, reaching 30 points and taking the lead.

It might not last long, though, for Rio Grande do Sul state's Gremio, which is currently in the third position, will play on Thursday. Gremio is only one point behind Cruzeiro.

Bahia state's Vitoria, which held the fourth position, struggledto beat Parana state's Atletico Paranaense by 2-1, and is now runner-up, with 29 points.

In the Caninde stadium, Sao Paulo state's Portuguesa and Rio's Fluminense fought to leave the relegation zone.

Coming from behind, Portuguesa managed to beat Fluminense by 3-1and climbed five positions in the league, reaching 12th in the ranking.

With 13 points, Libertadores Cup's runner-up Fluminense is the 19th among the 20 teams on the League, and risks being relegated to the second division.

Sao Paulo state's Santos left the delegation zone by defeating Rio Grande do Sul state's International by 1-0, while Goias state's Goias returned to the delegation zone after being defeated by Rio's Botafogo by 2-0 in the Joao Havelange stadium.

With the victory, Botafogo climbed three positions in the ranking and is now in eighth place.

Santa Catarina state's Figueirense maintained its invincibility in home matches by tying 1-1 with Sao Paulo. Both teams remain among those which qualify to South American Cup 2009.

The last four teams are relegated to the second division in the Brazilian League, while the first four qualify to the following year's Libertadores Cup. The teams that end 5th-12th qualify to the South American Cup.


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