BUENOS AIRES - Defender Matias Caruzzo
scored a stoppage-time winner for Argentinos Juniors who came
from 3-1 down to beat Independiente 4-3 and snatch the lead from
Estudiantes in the Argentine Clausura championship on Sunday.
Argentinos have 38 points and Estudiantes 37 with one match
to go. Independiente remained on 31 points in joint third place,
equal with Godoy Cruz who are at home to Colon on Monday.
A penultimate round of matches that began with Estudiantes
holding a one-point lead which would have enabled them to lift
the title if they had won and Argentinos lost ended in high
Estudiantes, down to 10 men for an hour after captain Juan
Sebastian Veron was sent off for elbowing an opponent, were held
0-0 by Rosario Central after centre-back Leandro Desabato shot
over the bar in the dying seconds with the goal at his mercy.
A far more exciting clash was played at the same time across
town at the Diego Armando Maradona ground, home of Argentinos
Juniors, with the Argentina World Cup coach after whom it was
Nicolas Pavlovich, who scored twice, put Argentinos ahead in
the 26th minute, steering home 39-year-old fellow forward Jose
Calderon's precise low cross from the left.
Independiente, who had led the standings for five weeks on a
seven-game unbeaten run before taking a mere four points from
their last five matches, hit back immediately.
From the restart they won a corner on the left which striker
Leonel Nunez took, curling the ball brilliantly over the keeper
and into the top far corner for what is know in South America as
an 'Olympic goal'.
Nunez, a former Argentinos player, did not celebrate the
goal and made a gesture as if to apologise to the home crowd. It
was the same when he scored again in the second half.
Independiente went in front three minutes after the interval
when midfielder Ignacio Piatti crossed from the left and striker
Dario Gandin headed in at the far post.
Gandin laid on Independiente's third in the 67th minute for
Nunez whose low shot from the right beat reserve keeper Luis
Ojeda, who had come on after 18 minutes for the injured Chilean
Pavlovich headed Argentinos, coached by former Argentina
striker Claudio Borghi, back into the match in the 73rd minute
before the home side scored twice in the dying minutes.
Defender Juan Sabia equalised in the 89th minute before
former Estudiantes veteran Calderon laid the ball off to Caruzzo
in a goalmouth melee three minutes into stoppage time.
The centre-back's shot was deflected out of keeper Adrian
Gabbarini's reach on its way into the net to the delirium of the
Argentinos visit Huracan next Sunday as title favourites
with Estudiantes, chasing a double of Argentine and South
American Libertadores Cup titles, away to Colon in Santa Fe
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