Internacional stun Atlético to damage title bid
In a stunning second-half performance at the Beira-Rio, a severely depleted Internacional side ran riot to see-off title hopefuls Atlético-MG 3-0 and leave their opponents' title-challenge floundering.
Goals from defender Cassiano, attacking-midfielder Fred and striker Cassiano left the Mineiro side floundering, before Jô completed Galo's miserable evening in the south by missing from the penalty spot in the 89th minute.
After a close-fought first-half in which neither side could gain the upper hand, the stalemate continued for some time after the break. It was, rough, broken by a piece of improvisation from an unexpected source.
As the ball fell to centre-back Jackson Souza near the edge of the Atlético penalty area, there looked to be few options available. The 22-ear-old, though, brought the ball down and dragged it to the left, leaving Leonardo Silva on the floor before firing home left-footed.
Minutes later, more of the same was to follow as Fred used his deft dribbling skills to leave Marcos Rocha dumbfounded before poking past Giovanni.
With ten minutes still to play, Inter were sailing to victory and confidence was flowing through the veins of the Colorado. Maverick talent Dagoberto seized the chance to come to the fore and after a mazy run on the left, lofted the ball over the helpless Giovanni to give Cassiano the simplest of headers home.
Jô would be given the chance to pull some consolation from the game in the final minute, after the referee deemed that Neto Berola was felled by Inter defender Nei. Jô's shot, though, epitomised Atlético's night as a tame effort down the middle was stopped by the leg of a diving Muriel.
With Fluminense beating Bahia, Galo find themselves now nine points off top-spot with nine games remaining as their title dreams rapidly fade to dust.
INTERNACIONAL: Muriel; Nei, Jackson, Ygor, Kleber; Bolatti, Josimar, Fred, Dátolo (Lucas Lima 46'); Cassiano (Otávio 88'), Rafael Moura (Dagoberto 64') – Coach: Fernandão.
ATLÉTICO-MG: Giovanni, Marcos Rocha, Rafael Marques, Leonardo Silva, Junior Cesar; Serginho (Neto Berola 72'), Fillipe Soutto; Guilherme (Carlos Cesar 60'), Escudero (Leonardo 80), Bernard; Jô – Coach: Cuca.