RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Brazilian championship leaders Sao Paulo beat Santos 1-0 away on Sunday to stay five points clear of Internacional, who beat Gremio by the same score in a derby.
At the other end of the table, struggling Palmeiras, playing their first match under new coach Jair Picerni, lost 4-2 after a blunder by former Brazil goalkeeper Marcos and Fluminense were beaten 2-1 by Botafogo.
With five rounds of matches to play, Sao Paulo lead with 67 points followed by South American champions Internacional on 62.
Santos and Gremio were left third and fourth respectively on 55 after their title hopes effectively ended.
Midfielder Mineiro scored Sao Paulo's winner in the 29th minute at the Vila Belmiro stadium.
Santos striker Reinaldo hit the bar early in the second half and Vanderley Luxemburgo's team also had goal disallowed shortly afterwards when former Bayern Munich striker Ze Roberto's effort was ruled out for offside.
Internacional extended their unbeaten run against Porto Alegre rivals Gremio to five games by winning 1-0 away thanks to a second half goal by Iarley.
Gremio had striker Hugo sent off for the third time in the championship for a second bookable offence in the 86th minute.
Palmeiras, 15th with 37 points, and Fluminense, 16th with 36, stayed just outside the relegation zone after their defeats. The bottom four teams in the 20-team table go down.
Palmeiras, where Picerni took over on Friday after the hapless Marcelo Vilar was sacked for the second time this season, twice led at Parana through former Brazil internationals Juninho Paulista and Edmundo.
But Parana, who had levelled the first time through Sandro on the stroke of halftime, fought back again after an awful mistake by 2002 World Cup winner Marcos, who has just returned to the team after injury.
Marcos misjudged a chipped pass forward and let the ball slip under the body to allow Cristiano to score into an empty net in the 50th minute.
Sandro and Gustavo added two more goals to seal the points for Parana.
'My mistake might have been responsible for today's defeat but I'm not accepting responsibility for the whole campaign,' said Marcos.
Fluminense appeared to have grabbed a point when midfielder Marcao headed an 89th minute equaliser against Botafogo, wiping out Ze Roberto's 71st minute effort.
But Botafogo went straight down the other again and Ze Roberto scored the winner with his second to extend Fluminense's winless run to 11 games.
Ponte Preta stayed 17th with 34 points after losing 2-1 at home to 19th-placed Sao Caetano, who won for the first time in 15 outings.