Brazil Serie A Wrap: Cruzeiro consolidate

In-form Bolivian attacker Marcelo Moreno was the pick of the bunch yet again, scoring twice in the second half as defending champions Cruzeiro overcame Chapecoense 4-2 on Saturday.

Leo and substitute Alisson were also on target after the interval in Cruzeiro's fourth consecutive league victory.

Cruzeiro remain eight points clear of Internacional after 18 matches in Brazil's top flight.

Internacional ended a run of back-to-back defeats with a 1-0 win at Palmeiras on Saturday.

Cruzeiro ran riot against Santa Rita in the Copa do Brasil midweek, pilling on five goals in a lopsided victory, and it was a similar story against Chapecoense, though they did not have it all their own way.

Chapecoense went into the half-time break leading 1-0 thanks to Zezinho, who put the visitors ahead in the 11th minute with a fortunate deflection.

Cruzeiro hit back five minutes into the second half through centre-back Leo, who was unmarked inside the six-yard box as he headed home Allison's cross.

Moreno was on target two minutes later, powering his header in off the ground and past Chapecoense goalkeeper Danilo Padilha.

Allison was the next to score in the 58th minute after a cross into the penalty box found its way to the attacking midfielder, who fired the ball into the net.

Chapecoense were offered a glimmer of hope following Bruno Rangel's close-range strike with 20 minutes remaining.

But Marcelo responded just seconds later for Cruzeiro as he completed his second consecutive brace and took his tally to six goals in four games.

Vanderlei Luxemburgo continues to work wonders with Flamengo after overseeing the club's fifth successive win on Sunday.

Flamengo were languishing at the foot of the table when Ney Franco was sacked last month but the side now sit ninth in the standings - only nine points behind Internacional - after their 2-1 win at cellar-dwellers Vitoria.

Luxemburgo has now won six of seven league games since returning to Flamengo.

Title hopefuls Sao Paulo, Corinthians and Fluminense were all forced to share the spoils on Sunday.

Sao Paulo - third in the table with 33 points - lost ground as they drew 1-1 at Figueirense with 10 men following Michel Bastos' red card in the closing stages.

The highlight of the match was iconic Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni equalising from the penalty spot in the 76th minute after Giovanni Augusto had given Figueirense the lead three minutes into the second half.

A point further back are Corinthians, who played out a 1-1 draw at home to fifth-placed Fluminense.

In other results, Santos suffered back-to-back defeats after they were beaten 1-0 by Botafogo.

Gremio's resurgence under Luiz Felipe Scolari continues to gather momentum following their 1-0 triumph over second-bottom Bahia.

Erik scored a hat-trick as Goias upstaged Atletico PR 3-1 and Sport Recife accounted for Criciuma 2-0.

Meanwhile, Coritiba held Atletico Mineiro to a scoreless draw.

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