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Football | Brazil

Fred © Action Images

Fluminense win Brazil title



Top scorer Fred struck two minutes from time to hand Fluminense the Brazilian championship title with three matches to spare after a 3-2 away win over relegation candidates Palmeiras on Sunday.

"Flu" opened an unassailable 10-point lead over Gremio, who climbed to second with a 2-1 home win over Sao Paulo in Porto Alegre while Ronaldinho's Atletico Mineiro were held 1-1 at Vasco da Gama in Rio and dropped to third 11 points off the pace.

Captain Fred led his team to their second title in three years and third overall amassing a record points haul of 76 in 35 matches with the potential to add up to nine more.

"It's a mixture of happiness with emotion. The squad is marvellous, these fans follow us always," Fred told reporters after being lifted on the shoulders of teammates.

"I thank God, the (club) board, the players, the (coaching) staff, the fans... Only a player's family knows what we're all experiencing."

Palmeiras held the match at Presidente Prudente in Sao Paulo state far from their city base for fear of trouble from angry fans, who had already staged violent demonstrations as their team totters on the brink of relegation.

Fred opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime stroking the ball home from the rebound after goalkeeper Bruno parried a shot from winger Wellington Nem.

Fluminense went two up in the 54th minute with an own goal by Palmeiras defender Mauricio Ramos as he tried clear a Fred cross.

Palmeiras hit back with two goals in four minutes just past the hour, the first from their Argentina striker Hernan Barcos with the equaliser coming from a header by former Arsenal and France midfielder Patrick Vieira.

Fred, overlooked by Brazil coach Mano Meneses this year which surely benefited Fluminense, volleyed the winner from Jean's right cross two minutes from the final whistle to take his championship tally to 19.

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