RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil prodigy Neymar
volleyed a fine goal from the edge of the box after 52 seconds
to inspire Santos to a 2-1 win over Avai that put them third in
the Brazilian championship on Thursday.
Santos had to work hard to defend their lead against a
lively Avai side in the absence of playmaker Paulo Henrique
Ganso, whose knee operation last month has put him out until
Six minutes from the end, the 18-year-old Neymar began the
move that ended with Marcel scoring to give Santos a two-goal
cushion before Valber pulled one back for mid-table Avai in
A fourth successive win put Santos on 30 points after 17
games, eight behind leaders Fluminense who were held 1-1 at
home by Palmeiras on Wednesday and four below second-placed
Santos and Corinthians have a game in hand over Flu and
fourth-placed Botafogo, who also have 30 points.
Neymar picked up his third yellow card of the championship
against Avai, however, and will miss Sunday's match away to
title holders Flamengo at the Maracana.
This will be a relief to troubled Flamengo, who went down
1-0 away to Cruzeiro in new coach Silas's first match in charge
on Wednesday and are 15th with 21 points, only four above the
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