SAO PAULO (AP) — One of the most exciting seasons in the Brazilian league ended Wednesday with the most stable team defending its title and with the relegation of the club that was the home of the late Pelé.
Palmeiras drew 1-1 with Cruzeiro to be crowned Brazilian champion for the 12th time. Endrick, 18, scored his 11th goal of the campaign 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 defeat to Fortaleza was another setback for the club in the stadium where Pelé’s funeral was held in January.
Palmeiras’ title was thanks to forward Endrick, who is about to join Real Madrid, who had several key goals and Botofago, who was his closest rival, dropped 13 points in the standings.
“People say I won it, but I couldn’t do it by myself,” Endrick told reporters after winning his second championship. “At the beginning of the year I cared a lot about what people said, it made me angry. Then I realized I shouldn’t do it. “I grew up a little.”
Portuguese Abel Ferreira won his ninth title with the Sao Paulo club. His contract is due to expire at the end of next year, but Brazilian press reported that he could accept an offer from Qatar’s Al-Sadd.
Atlético Mineiro and Flamengo, who had a slight chance of winning the title, lost on the last day. This allowed Luis Suárez’s Gremio to finish second after beating Fluminense 3-2.
Palmeiras finished with 70 points, two more than Gemio. Botofago, which led 31 of the 38 days, was fifth with 64 units. The Rio club lost 3-1 to Internacional to end the campaign on an 11-game winless streak. Santos had 43 points.
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