Sao Paulo move closer to Brazilian title
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Striker Leandro scored twice as Sao Paulo moved closer to winning the Brazilian championship by beating Botafogo 3-0 on Thursday.
The reigning world club champions, who have 70 points from 34 games, extended their lead to seven points over second-placed Internacional with four games to play.
Internacional were held 0-0 by Santos on Wednesday.
Leandro opened the scoring in first-half injury time and completed it with the last kick off the game as the Tricolor made light of the absence of inspirational captain, goalkeeper and free kick specialist Rogerio Ceni, who was injured.
Souza added the second midway through the second half, the ball falling kindly for him to fire home after Mineiro miscued his shot.
At the other end of the table, hapless Fluminense completed their ninth game without a win under Paulo Cesar Gusmao, their sixth coach this year, when they were held 0-0 at home by fellow strugglers Ponte Preta.
Fluminense could not find a way through even after Ponte, who have sacked nine players in the last two weeks, had defender Iran sent off for a second bookable offence two minutes before halftime.
'Flu' stayed 16th in the 20-team table, just outside the relegation zone, with 37 points. Ponte Preta are 17th, two points behind them. The bottom four go down.
Table-propping Santa Cruz picked up a rare win by beating Cruzeiro 4-1, helped by a hat-trick from striker Juninho Maranhao.