Three-way title race still tight in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Fluminense and Corinthians won derbies on Sunday to remain separated by one point in a tight race for the Brazilian championship with four matches to go.

Corinthians, still looking for a title to celebrate their centenary year after missing out on the South American Libertadores Cup, beat arch-rivals Sao Paulo 2-0 away at the Morumbi.

They are one point behind Flu who overcame Vasco da Gama 1-0 in their derby at the Enganhao, where Rio de Janeiro's top matches are being played while the Maracana is closed for 2014 World Cup improvements.

Cruzeiro are also in the mix with the same number of points as Corinthians after their 1-0 win away to Vitoria, although in third place on goal difference.

Corinthians went ahead on the half hour when Brazil midfielder Elias scored with a low shot from the right. Striker Dentinho made sure of the points when he tapped in a cross from right back Alessandro five minutes from time.

"It's a victory that gives us more strength to continue climbing up the table," said Corinthians' former Real Madrid and Brazil left back Roberto Carlos.

"Sao Paulo are a fast team, but we took up good positions in defence. We have good players up front so we don't need to run from one side to the other. Our defence was perfect," he told reporters.

Corinthians, under their third coach in Tite this season, have recovered from a brief slump that led to the departure last month of former trainer Adilson Batista, who had come in when Mano Menezes took charge of the Brazil team in July.

Striker Tarta scored the only goal for Flu at the Enganhao after four minutes. The 21-year-old started a counter-attack and passed to Washington, whose shot was parried by goalkeeper Fernando Prass only for Tarta to net the rebound.

Flu coach Muricy Ramalho is chasing his fourth Brazilian championship title in five years after winning it three times in a row with Sao Paulo from 2006 to 2008.

Goalkeeper Ricardo Berna said: "The professor (Ramalho) urges all of us to keep our focus. We did what he asked of us, we have to have this spirit, we will keep it."


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