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Santos relegated for first time in 111-year history

Pele Santos

Santos, Brazil legend Pele’s former club, have been relegated for the first time in their 111-year history.

A 2-1 home defeat by Fortaleza in their final league match of the season meant they dropped out of Serie A, Brazil’s top flight.

Santos won 12 state titles, six league titles and two Copas Libertadores during their golden era of the 1950s and 60s.

Three-time World Cup-winner Pele died at the age of 82 last year.

Santos, who also produced Brazil’s record scorer Neymar, have suffered financial problems in recent years. Heading into the final game of the season, America Mineiro, Coritiba and Goias had been relegated.

With Santos level at 1-1, Vasco da Gama – drawing 1-1 with Red Bull Bragantino – occupied the fourth relegation spot in the 20-team division.

But Serginho scored for Vasco in the 82nd minute and a stoppage-time winner from Fortaleza’s Lucero left Santos one point adrift of safety.

Palmeiras were crowned champions for the second season in a row – and 12th in total – thanks to a 1-1 draw at Cruzeiro. Flamengo and Sao Paulo are the only remaining sides who have never been relegated.