Defending Brazilian champion Fluminense relegated

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm •  Published: December 8, 2013
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Just five rounds ago Fluminense was being coached by former Brazil and Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who was fired after a series of setbacks that included nine straight matches without a win.

The team's top star this year was Brazil striker Fred, who was out of the team since September because of a muscle injury. Former Chelsea and Portugal playmaker Deco was with the club before retiring earlier this year.

Vasco da Gama, the 1998 Copa Libertadores champion, needed a victory at Atletico Paranaense after Criciuma lost 3-0 to Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro, but it was already losing 1-0 when the match was stopped in the 17th because of the fan violence in the stands. It equalized in the 40th minute but conceded another goal less than five minutes later and never recovered.

"The other results went our way but it was an unfortunate afternoon for us today," Vasco da Gama defender Renato Silva said.

Atop the standings, Cruzeiro had already clinched the title, but second-place Gremio and third-place Atletico Paranaense secured a spot in next year's Copa Libertadores.

Botafogo, which had Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf scoring one of the goals in the win against Criciuma, finished fourth and will also play in the Latin American tournament for the first time since 1996 if Ponte Preta doesn't win the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday. Ponte Preta will earn the fourth Brazilian spot if it wins the title against Lanus of Argentina. The teams drew 1-1 in Sao Paulo last week.

Ronaldinho returned to action after several weeks out with a muscle injury, scoring both goals in Atletico Mineiro's 2-2 draw against Vitoria in Belo Horizonte. It was the team's last match before traveling to Morocco to play in FIFA's Club World Cup.

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