Flamengo Ruin Luis Fabiano's São Paulo Debut
São Paulo started well, creating a couple of efforts from range, whilst denying Flamengo's fearsome attacking unit any clear sights of goal.
Just after the twenty minute mark and the lively crowd got what they had waited so long for - a Luis Fabiano involved chance. But, it was Cicero who went closest in these opening periods, striking the bar with his effort.
However, it was the keepers for both sides who shone in the first half, with Felipe and Rogério Ceni shining at either end. Felipe denying Deivid, whilst Rogério produced a great save to prevent a Thiago Neves header opening the scoring.
The game would continue in this open fashion after the break, with Lucas Moura and Deivid going close for either team. But, the game was about to arrive at a major turning point.
Lucas Moura has been one of the stars of the São Paulo season, but when he was dismissed with half an hour still to play it left the Paulista outfit in dire straits. A foul on Aírton earned the youngster a second yellow, for denying the counter-attack and São Pauo were a man down.
Luis Fabiano was withdrawn, but the momentum swung towards the Rubro-Negro with immediate chances for Thiago Neves and Deivid.
Although Rogério did well to save on both occasions, the veteran keeper could do little to keep out Thiago Neves' header just a minute later. Júnior César swung the ball in from the left and the loanee powered home the header.
However, the match was far from finished and within minutes São Paulo were back on top. First, Flamengo holding midfielder Willians was dismissed to make it 10-men for both side, before Dagoberto unleashed a thunderbolt from outside the area to level proceedings.
For all the world it looked like São Paulo would go on to clinch the game, but it was Flamengo who struck with just five minutes remaining.
Renato Abreu picked up the ball midway inside the São Paulo half and struck low towards goal. His effort was seemingly poor and heading for the keeper's arms, but a deflection off the knee of the despairing Carlinhos Paraíba took the ball past Rogério Ceni and into the back of the net.
Flamengo had somehow claimed a potentially crucial three-points for their title challenge, whilst with Vasco and Corinthians drawing elsewhere, São Paulo missed an opportunity to move to within touching distance of the summit.
Next up for Flamengo, bitter rivals Fluminense.