SAO PAULO — Flamengo relinquished a two-goal first-half lead in a 2-2 draw against Santos in the Brazilian league on Sunday, disappointing a record crowd of 61,421 at the Maracana Stadium.
It was the biggest crowd of this year's championship, surpassing the 59,612 that attended a match hosted by Sao Paulo at the Morumbi Stadium a few rounds ago. Among those at the Maracana was mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey, who on Saturday successfully defended her bantamweight title at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro.
The draw halted Flamengo's surge in the standings, keeping the popular Brazilian club in 11th place with 20 points from 16 rounds. Flamengo was trying to win its third straight game, and fourth in the last five rounds.
Midfielder Alan Patrick opened the scoring in the 42nd minute and forward Emerson added to the lead in the 44th, but Santos came back with goals by striker Ricardo Oliveira in the 52nd and playmaker Lucas Lima in the 73rd.
Santos remained 15th in the 20-team standings with 17 points.
The 16th round began Wednesday, when leader Atletico Mineiro defeated Sao Paulo 3-1 at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte with a hat trick by Argentine striker Lucas Pratto. Forward Alexandre Pato scored the lone goal for seventh-place Sao Paulo, which has lost two of its last three games.
Atletico Mineiro, seeking its first league title since 1971, has 35 points, two more than second-place Corinthians, which routed Vasco da Gama 3-0 at the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo.
Third-place Fluminense defeated 10-man Gremio 1-0 in front of nearly 30,000 fans at the Maracana on Saturday in the debut of former Brazil star playmaker Ronaldinho, who got an assist in the winner by Marcos Junior.
Fourth-place Sport had a chance to overtake Fluminense but was held by Cruzeiro to a scoreless draw in front of a crowd of more than 28,000 at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife on Sunday.
Atletico Paranaense jumped to fifth place with a 1-0 win at Palmeiras, stunning the nearly 40,000 fans who packed the Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo. It was Palmeiras first loss in eight games. The result dropped Palmeiras from fourth to sixth in the standings. Palmeiras has the league's best attendance average this year with nearly 34,000 fans per game at its new arena in Sao Paulo.
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