RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Palmeiras won the Brazilian championship with a match to spare when they won 1-0 at Vasco da Gama on Sunday, bringing their coach Luiz Felipe Scolari another major title at the age of 70.
Scolari, Brazil coach when they won their fifth World Cup in 2002 and also in charge of the side humiliated 7-1 by Germany on home soil in 2014, took over for a third spell at Palmeiras in July when they were seventh, eight points behind the leaders.
Under the leadership of the man who also took Portugal to the European Championship final in 2004 during his long, distinguished career, Palmeiras won 16 of their next 22 league matches and drew six, conceding just nine goals.
Substitute Deyverson scored the winner in the 71st minute of Sunday’s match at Sao Januario after he turned in Willian’s pass from close range and was then booked for the almost inevitable shirtless celebration.
The only black mark for Palmeiras was a yellow card for midfielder Felipe Melo in the first half, the former Brazil player reacting as if he had been head-butted after minimal contact from Vasco’s Kelvin.
The win left Palmeiras with 77 points, five clear of Flamengo who won 2-0 at Cruzeiro, as they clinched the Brazilian title for the tenth time overall and the second time in three seasons.
Those 10 titles include four in the 1960s when the competition bore more resemblance to a knockout contest, although they are now recognised by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).
Scolari previously led Palmeiras to a Copa Brasil title in 1998 and the South American Libertadores Cup title in 1999 during his first stint at the club and another Copa Brasil title in his second in 2012.
‘Big Phil’ has won the Brazilian championship once before, with Gremio in 1996.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ian Chadband