Sao Paulo win thriller as leaders falter

RIO DE JANEIRO - The Brazilian championship race tightened on Sunday with leaders Cruzeiro's defeat at Gremio while Fluminense and Corinthians were held to goalless draws.

Ten-man Sao Paulo won an exciting "clasico" against fourth-placed Santos 4-3 after scoring the winner in the dying seconds at the Morumbi and feel they may yet have a say in the outcome with eight matches to go.

"It's a victory that puts us within sight of the Libertadores Cup and even the (national) title... It was tough but we showed the strength of this club," said full-back Jean, who headed the winner three minutes into added time.

Cruzeiro have 54 points, Fluminense are on 53 after a 0-0 draw in their Rio derby against Botafogo and Corinthians, who have gone seven matches without winning, 50 following a 0-0 draw at Guarani. Santos have 48 while Sao Paulo are ninth with 44.

Santos opened the scoring in the fourth minute through teenage playmaker Alan Patrick but Sao Paulo hit back to go 2-1 up after 15 minutes with two headers from striker Dagoberto.

An own goal by Santos full-back Para followed by a goal from forward Se Eduardo made it 3-2 to Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo midfielder Richarlyson was then sent off just before the hour for a second booking and conceded an equaliser when Santos teenager Neymar converted a penalty after he was brought down.

Jean, however, headed the winner after Santos goalkeeper Rafael had made a brilliant save from Ricardo Oliveira.

Corinthians' former Brazil striker Ronaldo, playing in only his fourth match of the championship, had two goals disallowed in the first half in controversial offside decisions. Video replays appeared to show the 34-year-old onside both times.

"I'm there to score goals and to the refereeing was abysmal in my view," an angry Ronaldo told reporters on the pitch after the match at the Brinco de Ouro.

Corinthians announced that former coach Tite would take charge of the team after Adilson Batista resigned last Sunday.

Tite, who has been with Al-Wahda in the United Arab Emirates, returns to the club he first coached from 2004 to 2005. He is Corinthians' third coach since July when Mano Menezes left to take charge of the Brazil team.