Palmeiras retain five-point lead despite defeat

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian championship leaders Palmeiras slumped to a 3-0 defeat at third from bottom Nautico on Monday.

Palmeiras kept their five-point cushion over holders Sao Paulo, beaten 2-1 at Flamengo on Saturday, but lost the chance to pull further ahead. The leaders have 54 points from 29 games.

Atletico Mineiro, in fourth place, lost the Belo Horizonte derby 1-0 to Cruzeiro on Monday with striker Wellington Paulista scoring in the 11th minute.

Internacional, who are third on 48 points, drew 1-1 with Atletico Paranaense on Saturday.

Palmeiras, sorely missing playmaker Diego Souza who is with Brazil for their final World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, fell behind after six minutes.

Defender Luiz Claudio took advantage of a rebound from keeper Marcos to swivel and score.

Striker Bruno Mineiro put Nautico further ahead four minutes before halftime from Carlinhos Bala's cross.

Nautico, who had not won in their previous six matches, completed the rout when Bruno headed his second from Irenio's free kick just past the hour.