BUENOS AIRES - Racing Club's Claudio
Vivas became the first coaching casualty of the year in the
Argentine first division on Sunday when he was sacked after
three consecutive defeats, media reported.
Vivas, a former Argentina national team assistant coach,
had been in charge for 11 matches since November, midway
through the Apertura championship, and made a bright start to
the Clausura with a 3-0 win over Rosario Central two weeks ago.
However, his carefully assembled side with the major
mid-season signings of strikers Claudio Bieler and Gabriel
Hauche and former Argentina captain Roberto Ayala failed to
"We didn't get the results and by mutual agreement Vivas
ceased tonight to be the team's coach," Racing president
Rodolfo Molina told the official news agency Telam.
Vivas was asked by the club directors to resign after
Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Gimnasia-La Plata, Ole sports daily
reported. He refused, saying he wanted to carry on with what he
saw as a long-term job, so they sacked him.
Racing have turned into a basket case in the Argentine
game, one of the country's so-called "Big five" clubs who were
crowned South American and world club champions in 1967 but
have only lifted one league title, in 2001, since.
In the relegation system in Argentina whereby average
points over three years are taken into account, Racing are in
grave danger of going down at the end of the season in June.
Racing's bitter Avellaneda area rivals Independiente beat
an under-strength Estudiantes 3-2 to take a share of the lead
with eight points from four matches.
They are joint leaders with last year's Clausura winners
Velez Sarsfield, surprise team Godoy Cruz, and Colon, who beat
River Plate 1-0 at home in the Santa Fe province.
Independiente, coached by 1978 World Cup winner Americo
Gallego, took a first half lead through Andres Silvera and
appeared to have the points sewn up when fellow striker Dario
Gandin shot them two ahead just before the hour.
But a fine goal after the restart from the edge of the box
by Maxi Nunez, one of the few first-team squad regulars in Alex
Sabella's side that wasn't rested for Thursday's Libertadores
Cup match away to Alianza Lima, put the home side on the back
The Independiente fans' anger was aroused when their
defence allowed substitute Jeronimo Morales Neumann to steal in
unmarked and snatch an equaliser in the 71st minute.
However, a defensive lapse at the other end with 11 minutes
remaining allowed midfielder Ignacio Piatti, surrounded by
three static defenders, to control a high cross in the middle
of the box and shoot past Damian Albil.
Titleholders Banfield beat Lanus 2-0 at home in a one-sided
"Clasico del sur," the southern suburbs derby, on Saturday to
leave them on six points from three matches.
Ailing giants Boca Juniors made a series of changes with
young blood coming in for old hands but did not improve and
were held 0-0 at their Bombonera home by Atletico Tucuman.
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