Marcelo Oliveira's league-leaders Cruzeiro extended their buffer at the summit to seven points, with Dede's late winner at Vitoria sinking the hearts of the relegation-threatened hosts.
With either side unable to break through for the most part at the Estadio Manoel Barradas, Cruzeiro earned a 1-0 win when defender Dede scored just his fourth Serie A goal for the club in his 49th league appearance.
It was a much-needed victory for Cruzeiro, who came into the match on a three-match losing streak in all competitions.
Sao Paulo moved second courtesy of a 2-1 win at home to Bahia, highlighted by a stunning free-kick from goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni.
The legendary custodian, who takes penalties, curled a 25-yard effort that deflected in off the crossbar to give Sao Paulo a 40th-minute lead.
It was Ceni's eighth goal in 27 appearances this campaign.
Ganso doubled Sao Paulo's lead in the 79th minute, finishing a driving run with a left-foot finish from outside the area.
Fahel nodded in an 88th-minute goal for Bahia, but it was rendered consolation for Gilson Kleina's relegation-placed outfit.
The win saw Sao Paulo recover from a 1-0 loss to Atletico Mineiro, and was their third success in four.
Corinthians earned a vital 2-1 away win over Internacional, which bumped the losers to third spot and bunched up the competitors for a top-four place.
Paolo Guerrero capitalised on some lax Internacional defending, as his off-balance header looped straight up in the air, but no clearance saw him volley home from it in the third minute.
Against the run of play, Corinthians doubled their lead when Gil headed home from a set piece deep into first-half injury time.
Corinthians keeper Cassio had a howler to hand Internacional a passage back into the match, Nilmar capitalising into the empty net in the 73rd minute after the custodian let the ball slip through his hands.
But Cassio and his team-mates held on for all three points that significantly boosts their chances of a continental spot.
Just one point separates third-place Internacional from Corinthians in fifth.
Squeezed between them are Mineiro, who had a 1-0 home win over Chapecoense courtesy of Douglas Santos' first-half goal.
Gremio were held to a 0-0 draw away at ninth-place Goias, but still remain two points clear in sixth of Santos and Fluminense who both won at the weekend.
Wagner scored a brace to help Fluminense come from behind and beat Criciuma 4-2, while Gabriel's double fired Santos to a 3-1 success at Palmeiras.
Atletico Paranaense conceded early but beat Flamengo 2-1, while Botafogo held Sport Recife to a 1-1 stalemate.
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