Soccer-Cruzeiro crowned Brazilian league champions


* Headers secure title for Cruzeiro

* Battle in relegation spots to go to wire (Adds details)

By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Cruzeiro were crowned Brazilian league champions for the second consecutive year on Sunday after they beat Goias 2-1 at home to open up an unassailable lead at the top of Serie A.

The Belo Horizonte side are seven points clear of second-placed Sao Paulo, with two games to go.

Cruzeiro overcame a stout Goias side at the Mineirao stadium with two headed goals either side of halftime. Ricardo Goulart got the first in the 12th minute only to see Samuel equalise for the visitors 10 minutes later.

But Cruzeiro took control in the second half and as the torrential rain let up, Willian crossed for Everton Ribeiro to make it two after 62 minutes and even though closest rivals Sao Paulo beat Santos 1-0 away, a packed stadium celebrated Cruzeiro's fourth league title.

"Everyone wanted to beat Cruzeiro," striker Marcelo Moreno told reporters. "But we were professional, serious, and we worked hard. We deserve this."

They face city rivals Atletico Mineiro on Wednesday in the second-leg of the Brazilian Cup final, though will need to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit.

Sao Paulo's win guarantees them a top four finish and a place in next year's Libertadores Cup, while Corinthians are almost certain to join them after beating Gremio 1-0.

Internacional beat fifth-place Atletico Mineiro on Saturday and moved into fourth.

It was even more tense at the other end of the table, where six of the bottom eight teams played each other.

Second-bottom Botafogo look doomed for the drop after losing their fifth successive match and are stuck on 33 points, six from safety while Bahia, one place above them on 34, look set to go down too.

Both teams must now win their final two matches and hope the clubs above them slip up.

Defeats for Palmeiras and Vitoria make them favourites to be the fourth and final team relegated, with Vitoria on 38 points in the final relegation spot.

Palmeiras are one point above them on 39.

Criciuma got a point at Flamengo with a 1-1 draw on Saturday but have already been relegated. (Editing by Mark Meadows/Greg Stutchbury)

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