By DAVID MOSSE
Ronaldinho confirmed his good form by scoring a goal and helping set up another, but Flamengo was held to a 2-2 draw by Internacional on Sunday thanks to the brilliance of Leandro Damiao. The Internacional hitman is one of the rising stars of Brazilian soccer and was recently called up to the national team along with Ronaldinho for the upcoming friendly against Ghana in London.
He showed why by providing a lovely assist for Indio with a back-heel flick in the box and later on scoring a bicycle goal to level matters for the second time. Ronaldinho had given Flamengo its first lead with one of his trademark free kicks that slipped past the wall, and he put forth another strong all-around performance against the same club he used to torment back in his Gremio days.
The 31-year-old is tied with Santos striker Borges atop the scoring charts in Brazil with 10 goals, but no player has had an easier time putting the ball in the back of the net this year than Damiao, who increased his total to 32 goals in 40 matches in 2011. Damiao has already been linked with a host of European clubs, and Internacional reportedly turned down an offer from Tottenham.
Flamengo striker Jael accounted for his team's other goal, as Wanderley Luxemburgo's side rebounded from a shock 4-1 defeat to Atletico Goianiense last time out. The Rio de Janeiro giants remain in second place, two behind Corinthians, while Internacional continues to creep up the table with over half the season still left. The two teams meet again in the second-to last-round.
Here's a rundown of all the weekend scores from Latin America's top leagues:
The anticipated showdown between Sao Paulo and Palmeiras proved to be bit of a disappointment with few chances for either side. Dagoberto gave Sao Paulo the lead late in the first half with a lovely finish after latching on to an excellent pass from Rivaldo, but Henrique equalized in the middle of the second half. He was on the receiving end of a cross from Marcos Assuncao.
Neymar and Alan Kardec scored the goals, as Santos beat Bahia 2-1 on Sunday to move out of the relegation zone. It was the first away victory for Santos in this year's Brazilian Championship and should provide some welcome relief for Muricy Ramalho's side. Neymar was clearly motivated for this matchup with Bahia manager Rene Simoes, who has criticized him heavily in the past.
Corinthians 0, Figueirense 2
Cruzeiro 1, Ceara 0
Botafogo 3, Atletico Mineiro 1
Atletico Goianiense 1, Gremio 0
Avai 0, Coritiba 0
Atletico Parananense 2, America Minas Gerais 2
Vasco da Gama 1, Fluminense 1
With Santiago Silva suspended, Mexican striker Guillermo Franco received a rare opportunity and took full advantage, scoring the winner in the 90th minute, as reigning Clausura champions Velez Sarsfield notched a hard-fought 1-0 win over Arsenal Sarandi on Friday. Velez has now scored in 26 consecutive league matches and El Fortin finds itself atop the standings with seven points.
New goalkeeper Agustin Orion continues to shine, and Pablo Mouche came off the bench to score just three minutes from time, as Boca Juniors notched an impressive 1-0 victory over Newell's Old Boys. Orion made two incredible saves to keep the match scoreless, as Los Xeneizes overcame a subdued performance from Juan Roman Riquelme. Boca is in first place in the Apertura table.
San Martin 0, Lanus 0
San Lorenzo 3, Argentinos Juniors 1
Independiente 1, Estudiantes 0
CA All Boys 1, Atletico Rafaela 2
Tigre 2, Deportivo Godoy Cruz 1
Atletico Banfield 0, Racing Club 1
Chivas Guadalajara moved into first place in the Apertura standings with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Monterrey at home on Saturday. Cesar Delgado gave the visitors the lead, but goals from Marco Fabian and Alberto Medina oveturned matters. Monterrey played most of the second half down a man after Darvin Chavez was sent off, and it proved decisive in this thrilling encounter.
Pumas UNAM suffered its first defeat of the campaign, falling 2-1 to Puebla FC on Sunday. It was a disastrous first half for Los Auriazules, as Alan Miguel Zamora and American DaMarcus Beasley found the back of the net for the home side, while David Cabrera managed to get himself sent off before the intermission. Javier Cortes pulled one back in the second half but it was too late.
Estudiantes 2, Pachuca 1
Cruz Azul 2, Tijuana 1
Queretaro 1, Jaguares 2
Tigres 1, San Luis 0
Toluca 2, Atlante 1
Club America 5, Futbol Club Atlas 2
What did you think of this week's results? Impressed by the Internacional-Flamengo match? Think Boca Juniors can continue their impressive form?
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