SAO PAULO (AP) — Fred scored the lone goal as Fluminense edged Internacional 1-0 Sunday to extend its unbeaten streak to 11 matches and maintain the Brazilian league lead.
The former Brazil striker scored in the first half as Fluminense held on for the victory at the Beira-Rio stadium, reaching 50 points from 23 matches. It has a two-point lead over Atletico Mineiro, which beat Palmeiras 3-0 to stay in touch. Atletico, led by two-time world player of the year Ronaldinho, has a game in hand.
The closest team to Fluminense and Atletico Mineiro in the 20-team standings is Gremio, which on Saturday lost 3-1 to defending champion Corinthians and is six points off the lead.
Fourth place Vasco da Gama was routed by Bahia 4-0 at home and is 11 points back.
Fred scored his league-leading 11th goal with a right-footed shot from near the penalty spot in the 29th minute under heavy rain in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Forward Wellington Nem made a run from near the midfield line and cleared two defenders before setting up Fred inside the area. The striker controlled the ball and sent a low shot into the net.
Both teams went a man down early in the second half. Internacional had defender Nei sent off with a second yellow card after a hard foul on Wellington Nem, and a minute later Fluminense defender Leandro Euzebio was red carded for kicking an Internacional player away from the ball.
Internacional defender Fabricio was sent off after the match was over for heavily complaining with the refereeing. Internacional players wanted a penalty kick call in their favor when the match was scoreless in the first half.
"We did our part here, that was important," Fluminense goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri said. "We are going through a good moment and we need to take advantage of it. There's still a long way to go but it's good to be up front right now."
Atletico Mineiro scored three second half goals to defeat struggling Palmeiras in Belo Horizonte. Defender Leonardo Silva opened the scoring with a header off a corner taken by Ronaldinho.