Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro bounce back, Sao Paulo stunned
Alisson and in-form Bolivian forward Marcelo Moreno were both on target as Cruzeiro responded from their defeat to Sao Paulo with a 2-0 victory over Atletico PR in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday.
The result saw Cruzeiro improve to 49 points from 22 games as they regained their seven-point lead ahead of Sao Paulo, whose nine-match unbeaten run ended with a 3-1 loss at lowly Coritiba.
Cruzeiro had gone 12 games without defeat prior to their 2-0 loss last week, but Marcelo Oliveira's side bounced back on home soil, where they have now won 10 consecutive league matches.
Brazil young-gun Alisson opened the scoring in the 27th minute, curling a shot from the edge of the area into the far left-corner of the net thanks to a wicked deflection.
The score remained the same at the interval but Cruzeiro doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half courtesy of Moreno.
Moreno composed himself outside the penalty area before firing a low shot past Atletico PR goalkeeper Weverton for his ninth goal in nine matches.
Cruzeiro's win was a blow for Sao Paulo, who suffered a second-half collapse at Coritiba on Wednesday.
Sao Paulo took the lead on the stroke of half-time, Michel Bastos half-volleying beyond Coritiba keeper Vanderlei.
It was all one-way traffic from that point, though, as Coritiba took control of proceedings after the break.
Helder equalised on the hour-mark with a thunderous effort from outside the box before Cameroon striker Joel struck three minutes later, side-footing the ball into an empty net.
Joel sealed the points for Coritiba with four minutes remaining, rounding Sao Paulo keeper Denis after the visitors pushed numbers forward in search of an equaliser.
Coritiba climbed out of the relegation zone and into 15th position with their surprise win.
Botafogo ended with just eight men as they lost 3-2 at home to fellow strugglers Bahia, while Fluminense, who were shocked 3-1 by cellar-dwellers Vitoria, lost fifth spot to in-form Gremio.
Gremio played out a goalless draw with Santos on Thursday, which was enough for Luiz Felipe Scolari's men to move a point clear of Fluminense.
In other results, title hopefuls International and Corinthians both drew. International - third in the standings - were held to a scoreless draw at Sport Recife on Wednesday.
Fourth-placed Corinthians played the following day and drew 1-1 with Chapecoense.
Guilherme bagged a brace as Atletico Mineiro accounted for Goias 3-2 and Thiago Heleno earned a 1-1 draw for Figueirense against Criciuma.
Elsewhere, Palmeiras and Flamengo played out a 2-2 draw.