RIO DE JANEIRO - Adriano scored one goal and set up the other as Flamengo rose to second in the Brazilian championship with a 2-0 win at Nautico on Sunday.
Flamengo, who have won six of their last seven matches, are two points behind leaders and title holders Sao Paulo, who beat Vitoria 2-0 on Saturday, with three matches to go.
Their arch-rivals Fluminense, battling at the other end of the table to avoid relegation, picked up their sixth successive win in all competitions when they beat Atletico Paranaense 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro.
Palmeiras, who led the championship for a long period before slipping up in recent weeks with only one win in eight matches, are now third three points behind Sao Paulo.
Internacional returned to the top four who qualify for next year's Libertadores Cup with a 3-1 home win over Santos.
Former Inter Milan striker Adriano put through fullback Leo Moura whose shot was parried by the Nautico keeper allowing Serbian Dejan Petkovic to net the rebound and put Flamengo in front after 17 minutes in the northeastern city of Recife.
Adriano, one of Brazil's domestically based players who missed the 1-0 friendly win over England in Doha so they could remain with their clubs for the championship run-in, added the second in first half stoppage.
He is now the championship's leading scorer with 19.
At the Maracana, former Olympique Lyon striker Fred took his tally to 10 in 10 matches as Fluminense notched their fourth consecutive league win. With 39 points, "Flu" are fourth from bottom two points from safety.
Fred opened the scoring in the 18th minute and Brazil under-20 striker Maicon increased their lead 19 minutes into the second half. Paranaense, who have 43 points, pulled one back through Marcelo six minutes from time.
"We're battling to get out of this situation and everything's working out but we still have three more battles in the Brazilian (championship) and two in the Sudamericana," Fred told reporters.
"We can only celebrate this result until tomorrow."comments