RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Former Brazil international forward Fred struck a first-half winner against Internacional on Sunday as Fluminense maintained top spot in Brazil's Serie A standings.
The 27-year-old pounced on Wellington Nem's precise pass before sliding a low shot past goalkeeper Muriel to hand Fluminense a 1-0 victory at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men when Fluminense's Leandro Euzebio and Internacional's Nei were shown red cards for an incident early in the second half.
Fred praised the performance of his teammates, saying heavy rain and a soft pitch had tested players from both sides.
"This was a victory over adversity," Fred said. "It wasn't easy today but we showed great character and did just enough to win the match."
Internacional was without star strikers Leandro Damiao and Diego Forlan, who are currently on international duty with Brazil and Uruguay respectively.
In other matches on Sunday, Botafogo defeated Nautico 3-1, Santos and Sao Paulo drew 0-0, Bahia shocked Vasco da Gama 4-0 while Ronaldinho's Atletico Mineiro defeated Palmeiras 3-0.