Soccer-Corinthians stretch lead as rivals stumble

SAO PAULO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Corinthians extended their lead at the top of Brazil's Serie A to five points after their nearest rivals stumbled, while bottom club Vasco da Gama won two games in a row for just the second time this season. Corinthians, back in action after drawing 1-1 with Gremio on Thursday, beat Joinville 3-0 thanks to goals from Malcom, Uendel and Vagner Love to stretch their unbeaten run to 17 league games. Second-placed Atletico Mineiro drew 1-1 with Cruzeiro in the Belo Horizonte derby and Gremio lost 2-1 at home to Sao Paulo, their first defeat in 10 games. Goals from Rogerio and Alexandre Pato gave Sao Paulo the points and saw Gremio fall four points behind Atletico. Atletico went behind to a goal from Willian, his fifth in two games, before Carlos levelled two minutes from time. Willian could have secured all three points for Cruzeiro in the last minute but saw his penalty saved by Victor. At the bottom, Vasco beat Atletico Paranaense 2-0 with a goal in each half to give their fans a glimmer of hope that they can avoid the drop. The Rio club are three points adrift of Joinville at the bottom of the table but the win came in the same week they beat Ponte Preta 1-0 and means they have won almost as many games in the last four days as they did in the previous four months. In other games on Sunday, Ponte Preta beat Santos 3-1 to hand them their first defeat in 11 games, while Sport's 1-0 win over Fluminense was their first win in 10. (Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)