Sao Paulo, Nov 21: Former Brazil striker Adriano came off the bench to score an 88th-minute winner as Corinthians rallied for a 2-1 victory against Atletico Mineiro on Sunday.
Adriano found the net with a left-foot shot from inside the area at a packed Pacaembu stadium to keep Corinthians two points ahead of Vasco da Gama with two rounds to go in the Brazilian league.
Former Portugal striker Liedson had equalized for Corinthians in the 78th after Atletico opened the scoring in the 55th.
Vasco had put pressure on Corinthians by defeating Avai 2-0 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Defending champion Fluminense is the only other team in contention for the title thanks to a 4-0 routing of Figueirense, remaining five points back.
Corinthians, seeking its fifth national title, entered Sunday's match a point behind Vasco and needed at least a draw at the Pacaembu in Sao Paulo to regain the lead.
It was Atletico Mineiro which got on the board first, though, with a header by defender Leonardo Silva after a set piece early in the second half.
Liedson leveled with a diving header from close range and Adriano—who came on in the 67th—netted the winner in a counterattack, firing a cross shot into the far corner from a difficult angle after a through ball by striker Emerson.
Still out of shape, Adriano had played only a few minutes for Corinthians since recovering from Achilles tendon surgery earlier in the year.
Atletico Mineiro needed a victory to move further from the relegation zone.
Vasco kept its title chances alive by beating 10-man Avai at the Sao Januario stadium on Saturday.
Midfielder Felipe opened the scoring with a well-placed shot in the 50th and Elton sealed the victory with a header in the 65th.
Avai, which was relegated to the second division with the result, played a man down from the 20th after Junior Urso received a second yellow for a hard foul.
Brazil striker Fred scored three goals to keep Fluminense in contention, ending Figueirense's 13-match unbeaten streak with the 4-0 win in Florianopolis on Sunday. It was the team's fourth win in the last five matches.
The result dropped Figueirense to fifth in the 20-team standings, out of the title hunt but in position to earn a spot in next year's Copa Libertadores.
Also Sunday, strikers Leandro Damiao and Oscar scored a goal each as Internacional defeated struggling Botafogo 2-1 at the Engenhao stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Internacional moved to fourth in the standings, also in position to be among the five clubs which will get a spot in the Copa Libertadores next season.
Botafogo, which fired coach Caio Jr. last week, dropped to eighth after the loss, its fourth in a row.
Sixth-place Flamengo drew 0-0 with Atletico Goianiense in Ronaldinho's 50th match with the club since becoming Brazil's top player transfer in the beginning of the year.
Cruzeiro was held by Atletico Paranaense to a 1-1 home draw in Minas Gerais, a result kept the two-time national champion just one point off relegation zone. Atletico Paranaense, the 2001 league winner, remained among the bottom four clubs to drop down the end of the season.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's Palmeiras is out of danger after beating Bahia 2-0 in Pituacu, its first victory in 10 rounds.
In addition to Avai, America was also relegated on Saturday after losing 3-1 to Sao Paulo at the Morumbi stadium, a result that ended America's three-match winning streak.
Striker Luis Fabiano scored two goals and set up another for Sao Paulo, which is seventh in the standings and remain with chances of earning a berth in the Copa Libertadores, Latin America's most important club competition.
Ceara beat Gremio 3-1 at the Olimpico stadium in Porto Alegre to keep alive its chances of remaining in the top flight next season.