BUENOS AIRES - Striker Gaston Fernandez
headed a fine winner five minutes from time to give
Estudiantes a 2-1 victory at Independiente and a five-point
lead in the Argentine Apertura championship on Sunday.
With three matches to go, second-placed Velez Sarsfield
can close the gap to two points again when they play Tigre at
home on Tuesday.
Estudiantes had to work hard top beat a lively
Independiente side with many reserves as coach Antonio Mohamed
keeps his leading players fresh for the Copa Sudamericana
final, first leg on Wednesday.
Captain Juan Sebastian Veron recognised Estudiantes are
not playing well and made a comparison with the Clausura
championship which they let slip in May when they were a
"It's the opposite of the last championship when we were
playing well but lost it in the run-in. Now, not playing so
well, we got a very important result to keep putting pressure
(on Velez)," he told reporters.
Forward Juan Pereyra put Estudiantes ahead in the sixth
minute when he steered the ball in from the left after a poor
clearance by the home defence.
Independiente equalised less than 30 seconds after the
interval with a shot that went in off the bar from midfielder
Nico Martinez, whose brother Juan Manuel Martinez of Velez is
joint top scorer in the championship with a tally of eight.
With the match seemingly petering out into a draw,
Fernandez rose to a cross from the right and steered a looping
header into the top far corner.
Estudiantes winger Enzo Perez, one of their best players
this season, made a rash challenge in stoppage-time and was
Third-placed Arsenal, eight points behind Estudiantes,
came from a goal down to beat San Lorenzo 2-1 at home on Friday.
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