Fluminense maintained their two-point advantage over Atletico Mineiro at the Brazilian Campeonato summit on Sunday, with both teams posting victories.
Fred's 29th-minute strike was enough to earn leaders Fluminense a 1-0 triumph at Internacional in a match which saw both sides end with 10 men, Inter forward Nei and Fluminense defender Leandro Euzebio seeing red in the second half.
Atletico Mineiro remained in the hunt with a 3-0 home win over Palmeiras, although it was not as comfortable as the scoreline may suggest. Leonardo Silva's 54th-minute opener was all that separated the sides for the next half an hour before Caldeira Bernard's late brace sealed the three points.
Fourth-placed Vasco da Gama slipped off the pace, going down 4-0 at home to Bahia. Rodrigo Souza and Jones Carioca netted two goals apiece before the hosts' misery was compounded by the 74th-minute dismissal of defender Jonas.
Botafogo climbed to fifth thanks to a 3-1 victory over Nautico Recife. Elkeson's early double put the hosts in control and Andrezinho's last-gasp goal put the result beyond doubt after Araujo's 55th-minute penalty had halved the deficit.
The success moved Botafogo above Sao Paulo, who had Denilson sent off six minutes from time in their 0-0 draw at Santos.
Bottom-of-the-table Atletico Goianiense looked to be on course for only their fourth win of the campaign when Marcos put them ahead eight minutes before half-time against Portuguesa, but Valdomiro salvaged a 1-1 draw for the visitors nine minutes after the interval.
Finally, a 2-1 come-from-behind win for Sport Recife at home to Cruzeiro lifted the victors to 17th, Rithiely and Gilberto the men on target to overturn Wallyson's 10th-minute opener.