RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Corinthians, one of Brazil’s most popular clubs and champions two years ago, were relegated after drawing 1-1 at Gremio in their final game on Sunday.
Corinthians, winners of FIFA’s Club World championship in 2000, began the day one point off the danger zone but were overtaken by Goias, who beat Internacional 2-1 with a three-times taken penalty.
Corinthians finished 17th in the 20-team first division with 44 points from 38 games and followed Juventude, Parana and America-Natal into Serie B.
Goias climbed to 16th with 45 points.
Sao Paulo had already won the championship with four games to spare.
Relegation came almost exactly three years after Corinthians signed a controversial partnership deal with London-based Media Sports Investments (MSI).
Although MSI initially spent lavishly on new signings, the relationship soured last year and the investments dried up.
This year’s squad was based largely on players brought in from second and third division clubs.
The games involving Corinthians and Goias both kicked off around 20 minutes late.
Corinthians fell behind to a second-minute header by Jonas but Clodoaldo equalised out of the blue in the 31st minute.
Corinthians became increasingly desperate as the game wore on and had Heverton sent off for a professional foul in the 89th minute.
Goias were also in trouble early on when Colombian defender Andres Orozco headed Internacional in front in the 13th minute.
After hitting the post and forcing several good saves from Clemer, Goias equalised with a goal by Elson in the 32nd minute and were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute.
Clemer twice denied Paulo Baier but the referee judged the goalkeeper moved each time and, on the third occasion, Elson stepped up and converted.
Cruzeiro, who beat America-Natal 2-0, complete the Brazlian line-up for next year’s Libertadores Cup as they finished fifth, overhauling Palmeiras who lost 3-1 at home to Atletico Mineiro.
They joined Sao Paulo, Flamengo, Santos and Fluminense in the tournament, which is the South American equivalent of the Champions League.
Editing by Trevor Huggins