SAOPAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian champions Palmeiras got the defence of their title off to a fine start on Sunday with two goals and an assist from Ze Rafael helping the Sao Paulo side to a 4-0 win over newly promoted Fortaleza.
Midfielder Ze Rafael started the game on the bench but was introduced after just six minutes to replace the injured Ricardo Goulart.
He put the home side 1-0 up after a quarter of an hour and then laid the ball on for Marcos Rocha to double their lead approaching the hour mark.
The 25-year old capped his performance by grabbing the third goal with 70 minutes gone before Bruno Henrique completed the scoring in the final minute.
On a high scoring day of action in the Serie A, Bahia beat Corinthians 3-2, Athletico Paranaense overcame Vasco da Gama 4-1 and Ceara joined Palmeiras at the top of the table with a 4-0 victory over newly promoted CSA.
Two of the early favourites for the Serie A title, clashed in Porto Alegre, with visitors Santos beating hosts Gremio 2-1.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)