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Hulk, Diego Costa keep Atletico Mineiro title hopes on track

Hulk opened the scoring at the Mineirao with a low finish on the counterattack and he made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime by converting from the penalty spot after Jair Rodrigues was tripped by Messias Silva.

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Rio De Janeiro: A first-half brace from Hulk and a late Diego Costa strike gave leaders Atletico Mineiro a 3-1 home win over Ceara in Brazil’s Serie A championship on Saturday.

Hulk opened the scoring at the Mineirao with a low finish on the counterattack and he made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime by converting from the penalty spot after Jair Rodrigues was tripped by Messias Silva.

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Spain international striker Costa, a second-half replacement for Dylan Borrero, struck with a lunging effort at the far post after Nacho Fernandez’s cross three minutes from time.

The hosts scored a consolation goal when Gabriel Lacerda nodded in after Messias’ flicked header.

Atletico now has 53 points from 24 matches and hold an 11-point lead over second-placed Flamengo, who won 3-0 at Fortaleza earlier on Saturday.

In other Brazilian Serie A fixtures, America Mineiro drew 1-1 at Juventude, Bragantino won 4-2 at Palmeiras, Bahia prevailed 2-0 at Athletico Paranaense, Sport Recife clinched a 1-0 home win over Corinthians and Fluminense were held to a goalless home draw by Atletico Goianiense.

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