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By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – League leaders Fluminense failed to maintain their five point cushion over Corinthians in the race for the 2010 Brasilerão after being held by São Paulo on Sunday evening at the Maracanã Stadium.

Diogo made his debut for Flamengo on Sunday but failed to get on the scoresheet, photo by AgenciaFla.

Meanwhile, Flamengo’s attacking line up was bolstered by the signings of Deivid and Diogo from Fenerbache and Olympiakos respectively, but they were unable to deliver the all important goals. Botafogo’s undefeated streak came to a halt in Porto Alegre, and Vasco’s impressive form faltered with two disappointing displays.

ROUND XVI

Goiás 0-3 Fluminense
Fluminense completed a routine victory on Wednesday evening against a Goiás side who put up little resistance. The game marked the full debut of new signing Deco who immediately made an impact, crossing for Washington to score the game’s opening goal. Emerson Sheik made it 2-0, before Marquinhos wrapped up the points with a sublime finish in injury time.

Botafogo 1-0 Ceará
Botafogo recorded their fifth straight victory, though with a less than convincing performance. Striker Jobson had already wasted two chances to give his side the lead, before being put through by Maicosuel to coolly finish. However, the hosts found themselves on the back foot for most of the game by a well drilled but less than creative Ceará side, who, for all their possession, lacked the killer instinct to take the point that they deserved.

São Paulo 0-0 Vasco
Vasco da Gama will have been happy to escape from the Morumbi Stadium with a point having played second fiddle to their hosts for large portions of the game. Only wasteful finishing from Ricardo Oliveira and Fernandão allowed the Rio side to claim a goalless draw.

Flamengo 0-0 Atlético-MG
Mengão’s woeful record in front of goal continued with a dire performance against a struggling Atlético Mineiro side. The game contained little action of note, with both sides lacking confidence. Flamengo fans made their feelings clear at the final whistle by booing their team off, and within 24 hours coach Rogério Lourenço was fired.

Muricy Ramalho looks on tensely as Fluminense take on his old club, photo by Wallace Teixeira/photocamera.

ROUND XVII

Vasco 1-1 Cruzeiro
Vasco were again uninspired as they struggled to a draw against a lively Cruzeiro side on Saturday. The visitors were easily the stronger team, and were unlucky to find themselves a goal down after Zé Roberto angled a shot beyond Fábio in the Cruzeiro goal. The lead was to last just four minutes, when Vasco defender Fernando diverted a Thiago Ribeiro effort into his own goal.

Internacional 1-0 Botafogo
Botafogo’s winning streak ground to a halt in Porto Alegre against Internacional. Midfield maestro Maicoseuel failed to see much of the ball as he was successfully man marked by Tinga, and the hosts dictated the tempo. Their pressure told in the 24th minute, when Argentine playmaker D’Alessandro supplied Leandro Damião, who slotted calmly beyond the advancing Jefferson. Inter continued to frustrate their opponents in the middle of the park, who rarely threatened an equalizer.

Guarani 2-1 Flamengo
Flamengo were shocked by two injury time goals from their hosts that robbed them of victory on Sunday. Full back Jean gave the RubroNegro the lead early in the second half from a corner, and their goalkeeper Marcelo Lomba then kept his side in the lead with a fine penalty save, before Geovane headed in and Reinaldo stole the points with a deflected effort three minutes into injury time.

Fluminense 2-2 São Paulo
Fluminense fans will be left cursing their luck after striker Washington missed a second half penalty against his former side to wrap up the three points. The game started perfectly for the league leaders, with Deco scoring his first goal for the club after skillful build up play from Conca and Júlio Cesar.

However, São Paulo struck back with two goals in a minute, first through a free kick from goalkeeper Rogério Ceni, before Fernandão headed the Paulista club into the lead. Fluminense center half Leandro Euzébio leveled the scores with a header from a Conca free kick, before Washington missed the chance to send his new side five points clear at the top of the table, with Ceni saving low to his left.

Serie A Table After Round XVII
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