By Tales Azzoni ,AP
SAO PAULO — Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro took the Brazilian league lead on Sunday by beating Gremio 1-0 with a goal by former Manchester City striker Jo.
Jo scored the winner in the 26th minute off a cross by forward Bernard, who flicked the ball over two defenders before finding his teammate in front of the net. Ronaldinho took the free kick which started the play.
Atletico Mineiro moved to 16 points, level with Vasco da Gama but ahead on goal differential after seven rounds.
Vasco defeated Ponte Preta 3-2 on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, while third-place Fluminense beat Nautico in Recife 2-0 with both goals set up by former Chelsea playmaker Deco.
Argentine striker Hernan Barcos and Paraguay defender Adalberto Roman scored a goal each as Palmeiras defeated Figueirense 3-1 for its first league win.
Atletico Mineiro earned its fifth victory at a packed Olimpico stadium in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Jo easily found the net from the six-meter line after Bernard’s remarkable run near the end line after Ronaldinho’s corner kick went across the area. He got past two defenders by flicking the ball over each of them, then calmly sent the ball to Jo for the winner.
Gremio played the final 10 minutes a man down because midfielder Anderson Pico was sent off for a hard foul.
Ronaldinho began his career playing for Gremio and was loudly jeered by the fans in Porto Alegre because he didn’t want to return to the club after leaving European soccer.
“They are all quiet now,” the former two-time world player of the year said after the match.