SAO PAULO — Striker Maicosuel scored twice in the second half to help Atletico Mineiro defeat 10-man Internacional 3-1 and take the Brazilian league lead on Sunday.
It was the fourth win in a row for Atletico Mineiro, which reached the top of the standings with 23 points from 11 matches. Gremio and Sport also have 23 points, but trail on tiebreakers.
Maicosuel opened the scoring in the 60th minute, just before Internacional lost former Manchester United midfielder Anderson because of a red card for dissent. Television cameras caught him cursing at the linesman after a foul call that went against him.
Maicosuel scored again in the 78th and striker Thiago Ribeiro added to the lead in the 81st before Argentine playmaker Lisandro Lopez netted Internacional's lone goal in the 87th.
Internacional, the only Brazilian team still alive in this year's Copa Libertadores, dropped to 14th in the 20-team standings with 13 points, only three outside the relegation zone. Inter was coming off two straight wins and hadn't lost at home in eight months.
Gremio scored two second-half goals to defeat Santos 3-1 for its fifth straight win, jumping to second place. Santos striker Geuvanio was sent off in the 29th after entering the field without proper permission from the referee, resulting in his second yellow card of the match. Geuvanio loudly complained, saying he was authorized by the assistant referee.
Gremio has been thriving under the command of former player Roger Machado, who replaced former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari just a few rounds into the championship.
Santos, which has lost three consecutive games, has been struggling without veteran Brazil striker Robinho, who left the team after the Copa America. The loss dropped the team to 17th place, inside relegation zone.
Also Sunday, third-place Sport stayed near the top of the table thanks to an injury-time equalizer by striker Andre in a 2-2 draw. With the result, Sport remained the tournament's only unbeaten team.
Fourth-place Fluminense had its three-game winning streak ended with a 0-0 draw at Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo had most of the scoring chances but couldn't capitalize on them, remaining winless in four matches and dropping to eighth in the standings.
Fifth-place Corinthians was held to a 0-0 draw by Goias, while Palmeiras beat Ponte Preta 2-0 to move into seventh place on the table with 18 points. Popular Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo conceded a last-minute goal in a 2-1 loss to Figueirense, dropping to 15th place.
On Saturday, two-time defending champion Cruzeiro defeated Atletico Paranaense 2-0, while Chapecoense defeated Vasco da Gama 1-0, keeping its rival in the relegation zone.
Also Saturday, second-to-last-place Coritiba was held by last-place Joinville to a 0-0 draw.
This story has been corrected to show that Anderson argued over foul call, not offside call.
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