Controversial striker Blanco on target in Mexico

September 4, 2006

MEXICO CITY, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Controversial striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco, staring his first game in the Mexican Apertura championship, scored to give America a 1-1 draw with Toluca on Sunday.

Defending champions Pachuca beat UNAM 3-1 to win their first game of the championship while three players were sent off in a stormy 1-1 draw between Guadalajara and Atlante.

Blanco, left out of the Mexican World Cup squad even though many consider him the country's most gifted player, converted a 65th-minute penalty to rescue a point for America, who have made an indifferent start.

Toluca, the only unbeaten team in the competition, took an early lead through Argentine striker Bruno Marioni.

The point kept Toluca top of Group Three with 14 points, six ahead of second-placed America.

Goals from Argentine Damian Alvarez, Colombian Aquivaldo Mosquera and Juan Carlos Cacho gave Pachuca a morale-boosting win away to the Pumas, who replied through Jose Luis Lopez.

Pachuca are fifth in Group Two with four points while UNAM are third in Group Three with eight.

Guadalajara, Mexico's most popular side, suffered an early setback at the Jalisco as Chilean striker Patricio Galaz put Atlante ahead after 13 minutes.

Adolfo Bautista equalised four minutes before halftime but was at the centre of a brawl which marred the game in the 79th minute.

Bautista was sent off along with Atlante's Horacio Cervantes while Atlante had Daniel Alcantar sent off for an ugly challenge on Sergio Santana with three minutes to play.

There was also controversy in San Luis's 4-0 win over Veracruz, who had Oscar Razo sent off in the 40th minute.

Razo was first booked for playing on when the whistle had blown and was given a second yellow card for complaining he had not heard it.

Veracruz coach Victor Manuel Vucetich was also dismissed for protesting against the decision.

San Luis, leading through a Reinaldo Navia penalty, added further goals after the break through Navia, Angel Martinez and Andre Da Silva.