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Internacional beats Coritiba 4-2, moves closer to Cruzeiro at top Brazilian league

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SAO PAULO — Argentine playmaker Andres D'Alessandro scored in the first half to help Internacional defeat Coritiba 4-2 on Sunday and move within six points of Brazilian league leader Cruzeiro.

Midfielder Alex and striker Eduardo Sasha also scored at the Beira-Rio Stadium, giving Internacional its third win in a row, and fourth in five matches.

Defending champion Cruzeiro was held to a 0-0 draw at Sport on Saturday, reaching 53 points from 25 matches. Internacional has 47 points. The teams will meet next Saturday at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.

Third-place Sao Paulo failed to gain ground after a 3-1 home loss to sixth-place Fluminense on Saturday, remaining on 43 points.

Atletico Mineiro beat Vitoria 2-0 to earn its fourth consecutive win and move to fourth spot in the 20-team standings. Brazil forward Diego Tardelli scored one of the goals for Atletico Mineiro.

Argentine striker Hernan Barcos scored twice to give fifth-place Gremio a 2-0 win over struggling Botafogo at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Corinthians dropped to seventh place after a 1-0 loss to Atletico Paranaense in Curitiba, the team's second defeat in a row.

Internacional, seeking its first Brazilian league title since 1979, has a chance to cut Cruzeiro's lead to three points with a road win on Saturday. There are 13 rounds left in the competition.

D'Alessandro opened the scoring Sunday on the rebound of his missed penalty kick in the 11th minute, but defender Leandro Almeida equalized just five minutes later for last-place Coritiba.

Alex scored for Internacional in the 32nd and Sasha added to the lead in the 44th. Striker Ze Love pulled Coritiba closer in the 64th, but Sasha scored again in the 73rd to seal Inter's victory.

The match was interrupted for more than 15 minutes near the end because of a power failure at the Beira-Rio, a stadium that hosted five World Cup matches earlier this year.

Also Sunday, Argentine midfielder Emanuel Biancucchi scored a goal in each half to lead Bahia to a 2-1 win over Flamengo at the Arena Fonte Nova Stadium in Salvador. Winless in four matches, Flamengo scored its goal with Brazilian-born Croatia striker Eduardo da Silva.

Santos defeated Goias 2-0 at the Pacaembu Stadium, while Palmeiras conceded three goals five minutes apart late in a 3-1 loss at Figueirense, a result that left the eight-time national champion in the relegation zone.

On Saturday, Fluminense got goals by Argentine playmaker Dario Conca and former Brazil striker Fred in the 3-1 win over Sao Paulo at the Morumbi Stadium. Alexandre Pato scored the lone goal for Sao Paulo, which has lost three of its last four matches.

Sao Paulo was without coach Muricy Ramalho, who spent three nights in hospital due to a heart condition before he was released Sunday.

Former South Africa manager Joel Santana, the coach of Vasco da Gama in the second division, successfully underwent gall bladder surgery on Sunday.


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