12 September 2014 05:21
Everton Ribeiro and Ricardo Goulart returned from international duty with Brazil to inspire Cruzeiro to victory over Bahia.
Ribeiro and Goulart made their debuts for Brazil over the international break, featuring in wins against Colombia and Ecuador in the United States.
And the pair’s return to Belo Horizonte resulted in a 2-1 win for Brazilian Serie A leaders Cruzeiro, who overturned a half-time deficit in round 20 action at the Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto on Thursday.
Unbeaten in 12 league games prior to kick-off, the home side fell behind in the 30th minute.
After hitting the post twice, Cruzeiro were punished at the other end as Rafael Miranda gave Bahia a surprise lead with a cool finish into the bottom corner after Guilherme Santos squared the ball to the 30-year-old.
Only some heroics from Bahia goalkeeper Marcelo Lomba kept Cruzeiro at bay during the early exchanges in the second half, though the visitors received a double blow in the 51st minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty after a foul on Goulart.
Bahia surrounded the referee protesting the decision for two minutes and defender Titi was shown a second yellow card for sarcastically clapping in the face of official Marcos Mateus Pereira.
Once play resumed, Ribeiro stepped up and converted the spot-kick.
Cruzeiro made the most of their numerical advantage in the 71st minute as Goulart – the league’s top goalscorer – took his season tally to 10 with a half volley inside the box.
Bahia ended the match with nine players after Fahel saw red during the closing stages.
The win consolidated Cruzeiro’s seven-point advantage ahead of Sao Paulo, who were inspired by Souza’s brace as they prevailed 4-2 at 10-man Botafogo on Wednesday.
Alan Kardec and Alexandre Pato were also on target as Sao Paulo made it eight matches unbeaten.
Bahia dropped to the foot of the table after Vitoria ended their six-game winless streak with a shock 2-0 victory over free-falling Internacional.
Internacional had been one of the in-form teams of the competition but back-to-back losses and four in their past five games has seen the club slip to fourth in the table.
Gremio’s resurgence under former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari continued after they earned a dramatic 1-0 win at home to Atletico PR.
With the match petering out to a draw, Argentinean striker Hernan Barcos popped up in injury time to hand Gremio a fourth successive victory and their third straight clean sheet.
Gremio are level on 34 points with Internacional but adrift on goal difference, while they are two behind Corinthians.
Corinthians stayed third in the table with a 1-0 triumph against Atletico Mineiro.
In other results, Sport Recife were 3-1 winners over Santos courtesy of Patric’s hat-trick.
Sixth-placed Fluminense drew their third match in a row, playing out a 1-1 stalemate at Figueirense.
Palmeiras climbed out of the relegation zone after edging fellow strugglers Criciuma 1-0.
Coritiba accounted for Chapecoense 3-0, while Goias overcame Flamengo 1-0.