Tue, Aug 14, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Defeat drops Botafogo in standings

AP , SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

Botafogo allowed a 76th-minute equalizer against Figueirense to drop seven points back of leader Sao Paulo at the halfway point of the Brazilian league on Sunday.

Sao Paulo, the defending champion, beat Paranaense 2-0 on Saturday to keep alive a seven-match winning streak and maintain a comfortable lead in the 20-team standings after 19 rounds. It has 40 points, while second-place Botafogo -- which has a game in hand -- has 33.

Botafogo, winless in their last three matches, got on the board at Orlando Scarpelli Stadium in Florianopolis with a well-struck free kick by veteran striker Dodo in the 49th. He curled a right-footer over the wall and into the left-upper corner of Figueirense goalkeeper Wilson.

Figueirense's equalizer late in the game came in a controversial play in which Botafogo complained of offsides.

After a free kick cross into the area, substitute midfielder Vinicius -- apparently offsides -- headed the ball back into the box for striker Otacilio Neto's close-range goal.

Botafogo was coming off a 2-0 loss to Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

The titleholders kept their lead by defeating Atletico Paranaense 2-0 at Morumbi stadium with goals by midfielder Jorge Wagner and striker Borges.

Sao Paulo has outscored its opponents 15-3 in its current seven-match winning streak. The team's last setback was a 1-0 defeat to Fluminense nearly a month ago.

Also on Saturday, five-time champion Flamengo rallied to defeat Nautico 2-1 with a 87th-minute winner by defender Leonardo Moura.

It was the team's second win in 13 matches. Brazil's most popular club remains second-to-last in the standings.

Corinthians, Brazil's second-most popular club, rallied late to beat Copa Libertadores runner-up Gremio 2-1 at Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo. The four-time champion scored in the 81st and 83rd minutes to grab the win and leave the relegation zone.

On Sunday, Cruzeiro beat last-place America 2-1 in Natal with an 88th-minute winner by striker Alecsandro to move to third in the standings.

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