Atletico beats leader Fluminense 3-2 in added time
SAO PAULO (AP) -Ronaldinho set up the winning goal in second-half injury time as Atletico Mineiro pulled off a dramatic 3-2 victory over Fluminense on Sunday, helping his team move to within six points of its opponent at the top of the Brazilian league with six rounds left.
Atletico relinquished a late lead at Independencia Stadium in Belo Horizonte, but defender Leonardo Silva scored the winner with a header off a well-placed cross by Ronaldinho in the second minute of stoppage time.
Ronaldinho was involved in all three goals by Atletico and found the net from a free kick, but it was disallowed because of a contentious foul call away from the play.
Atletico Mineiro is trying to win its first league title since 1971, while Fluminense won it for the third time in 2010.
"We are still alive,'' Silva said. "We didn't deserve to leave the field without a victory today. We played well from the beginning.''
Atletico attacked from the start in front of its fans, knowing that a loss or even a draw would virtually secure Fluminense the trophy.
Fluminense relied on counterattacks and it paid off early in the second half when a breakaway led to the team's first goal in the 56th minute. Fred sent a great through ball to Wellington Nem just inside the area and the forward easily found the net.
Atletico Mineiro striker Jo equalized with a firm left-footed shot from inside the area after a nice run and a perfect pass by Ronaldinho in the 69th, and Jo put Atletico ahead in the 82nd with a header into the far corner after a play that started with a Ronaldinho pass in front of the area.
The goal forced Fluminense to move forward in the final minutes and Fred was able to score just three minutes later, sliding just outside the six-meter box to redirect a cross by Carlinhos. It was Fred's 16th goal, making him the league's top scorer.
With time running out, Ronaldinho took possession of the ball about 40 meters away from the goal and sent a high cross toward the charging Silva, who headed the ball into the top corner to give Atletico victory in front of more than 20,000 fans.
"It was hard to swallow that late goal,'' Fluminense midfielder Diguinho said. "But there's nothing lost. We have to keep our heads high and get back to work. There are a lot of matches left.''
Ronaldinho struck a perfect free kick in the 21st, but the goal was disallowed because the referee said Silva shoved Fluminense players in the wall.
"Atletico Mineiro deserved the victory today,'' Fluminense coach Abel Braga said.
Also Sunday, Flamengo defeated fourth-place Sao Paulo 1-0 after a 72nd-minute goal by Chilean defender Marcos Gonzalez at Engenhao Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, snapping the team's five-match winless run and moving it farther from relegation zone in the 20-team standings.
Six-time champion Sao Paulo, which was unbeaten in its last seven matches and had won four in a row, had a chance to open the scoring in the 30th but Brazil striker Luis Fabiano had his penalty saved by Flamengo goalkeeper Felipe.
On Saturday, eight-time champion Palmeiras kept alive its hopes of escaping demotion to the second division with a 2-0 home victory over Cruzeiro behind second-half goals by Argentine striker Hernan Barcos.
Palmeiras is now four points from Bahia, the first team outside relegation zone. Bahia drew 1-1 at defending champion Corinthians, which rested some of its regular starters because it's focused on the Club World Cup it will play in December. Corinthians is one of Palmeiras' top rival.
Third-place Gremio was held to a 0-0 home draw with Coritiba at Olimpico Stadium in Porto Alegre, staying 10 points from the lead.
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