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Athletico beat Santos to edge closer to Libertadores spot

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By Reuters
Athletico beat Santos to edge closer to Libertadores spot
Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Athletico Paranaense v Santos - Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, Brazil - December 4, 2019 Athletico Paranaense players pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer   -   Copyright  RODOLFO BUHRER(Reuters)
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CURITIBA (Reuters) – Athletico Paranense got a vital three points in their quest for a top-four finish in Brazil’s Serie A with a 1-0 win over Santos on Wednesday.

The winner came from Marco Ruben with a diving header two minutes after halftime.

Santos, who started the day 11 points and three places above Athletico, had Luan Peres sent off midway through the second half.

The result takes Athletico a point ahead of Gremio and into fourth place in the table, with the top four qualifying automatically for the group stages of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League.

The fifth and sixth-placed teams go into the qualifying rounds.

Gremio play relegation-threatened Cruzeiro on Thursday, with the final round of league games taking place on Sunday.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond)