RIO DE JANEIRO - Palmeiras's problems mounted on Sunday when they lost 5-2 to Flamengo in the Brazilian championship, two days after coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo was attacked by the club's own fans. Luxemburgo appeared on the touchline before the game with his right arm in a cast and revealed he had broken it in a clash with supporters at Sao Paulo airport on Friday evening when the team travelled to Rio for the game. "It was the attitude of vandals," Luxemburgo told reporters before kick-off. "It was an act of cowardice, an ambush. But I'm not going to let them get away with it." "If you don't win the championship or a match, you run the risk of the supporters invading the airport and beating everyone up," added the former Real Madrid and Brazil coach. After the match, Luxemburgo said the team had received phone calls threatening more trouble on their return to Sao Paulo. Brazilian media said police had set up a special security operation and the players would go straight from the plane to a bus without entering the terminal. TITLE CHANCES Sunday's defeat effectively ended Palmeiras's title chances as they dropped to fifth place, seven points behind leaders Sao Paulo with three games to go. Flamengo moved up to third. Marcelinho Paraiba gave Flamengo an early lead, midfielder Ibson notched a hat-trick and former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson added the finishing touch. Palmeiras replied with an Alex Mineiro penalty and a goal from striker Kleber. Sao Paulo, who lead with 68 points from 35 games, stayed on course for a third successive title by beating relegation-threatened Figueirense 3-1. Striker Borges put them 2-0 ahead in less than half an hour, heading in Jorge Wagner's cross and capitalising on a mistake by defender Asprilla for the second. Cleiton Xavier pulled one back before halftime before striker Hugo turned in Joilson's cross to wrap up the points in the second half. Gremio beat Coritiba 2-1 to stay two points behind in second place. Paulo Baier scored a hat-trick for Goias in their 3-1 win over troubled Botafogo who had Tulio and Andre Luis sent off, bringing their red card tally to five in the last four games. Lucio Flavio converted one penalty and missed another for Botafogo.
17 November 2008
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