Argentina title race wide open as top trio win again

November 6, 2006

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Leading trio Boca Juniors, River Plate and Estudiantes all won again at the weekend as the Argentine title race stayed wide open.

Boca came from behind to win 2-1 at Arsenal and stay one point clear of River Plate, who thrashed San Lorenzo 5-0, and Estudiantes, who beat Velez Sarsfield 1-0.

Estudiantes chalked up their sixth straight win despite having inspirational midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron sent off in the 45th minute.

Boca have 32 points from 13 games and on Wednesday will play the remaining 45 minutes of their match against Gimnasia-La Plata.

The original game, on Sept 10, was abandoned at halftime when referee Daniel Gimenez said he had been threatened in his dressing room by Gimnasia president Juan Jose Munoz. Gimnasia were leading 1-0.

Unfashionable Arsenal, a respectable fourth in the table, went ahead on the hour through Santiago Raymonda.

But former Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe's team levelled through substitute Mauro Boselli 10 minutes later before Rodrigo Palacio fired a 78th-minute winner with Arsenal claiming offside.

Victor Zapata and Ernesto Farias scored twice each for River but the highlight was Ariel Ortega's goal shortly after he had come on as a substitute.

The former Argentina international, who has struggled for form and taken time out due to personal problems, looked at his best as he cheekly flicked the ball over his marker and then chipped goalkeeper Sebastian Saja.

Saja had earlier missed a penalty for Oscar Ruggeri's team when his kick was saved by Juan Pablo Carrizo.

Estudiantes, coached by former Argentina captain Diego Simeone, overcame Velez when defender Agustin Alayes headed in from Veron's corner in the eighth minute.

Veron was dismissed for a second bookable offence one minute before halftime.

The most dramatic game was the 3-3 draw between midtable Lanus and lowly Godoy Cruz.

The visitors led 2-1 until the 83rd minute when Marcos Aguirre made it 2-2. Claudio Graf put Lanus ahead in the first minute of injury-time only for Dario Salomon to snatch an equaliser in the 93rd minute.