Brazilian League: Endrick Felipe's Palmeiras defend title, Santos relegated

Palmeiras drew 1-1 at Cruzeiro on Wednesday to lift 12th league title

endrick-afp Palmeiras' Brazilian forward Endrick celebrates with the trophy after winning the Brazilian Championship | AFP

One of the most exciting seasons of the Brazilian league ended with the most stable team of the season defending its title and the club that was home to the late Pele relegated for the first time.

Palmeiras drew 1-1 at Cruzeiro on Wednesday to be crowned Brazilian champion for the 12th time. The 18-year-old Endrick scored his 11th goal of the season to give Palmeiras an early lead and Nikao equalized in the 80th minute at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.

Santos' relegation following a 2-1 home loss to Fortaleza was another setback for the club at the stadium where Pel's funeral took place in January.

This year's title went to Palmeiras with striker Endrick, set to join Real Madrid, scoring several key goals and rival Botafogo squandering a 13-point lead in the standings.

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Atletico Mineiro and Flamengo, which had slim chances of winning the trophy in the last round, lost their matches. Those defeats allowed Luis Surez' Gremio to finish runner-up after a 3-2 win at Fluminense, with the Uruguayan striker scoring two goals.

Palmeiras finished with 70 points, two more than Gremio. Botafogo, which led for 31 of 38 rounds, finished in fifth with 64 points. The Rio club lost 3-1 at Internacional, and ended the season with an 11-game winless streak.

Santos finished with 43 points, one behind Bahia, which beat Atletico Mineiro 4-1, and two less than Vasco da Gama, the winners of another tense clash against Bragantino.

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Mario Sergio opened the scoring for the visitors in the 39th minute. Messias equalized in the 58th minute to give Santos hope it could put Vasco da Gama or Bahia in a relegation position. But Fortaleza's Juan Martin Lucero scored from long distance shortly before the final whistle.

The match was ended as soon as Santos fans tried to invade the pitch, forcing players to run to the locker rooms.

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