BUENOS AIRES - Estudiantes go into their
final match of the Argentine championship at home to Arsenal on
Sunday looking for the win that will crown them
A 4-0 victory over River Plate at the Monumental on
Wednesday without suspended midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron and
in-form winger Enzo Perez kept Estudiantes two points clear of
Velez Sarsfield, their only rivals for the title.
If Estudiantes, seeking their fifth domestic league title,
draw with Arsenal and Velez beat Racing Club, the rivals would
go into a play-off since goal difference is not taken into
Velez coach Ricardo Gareca, who steered his team to the
Clausura title in the 2008/09 season, remained upbeat.
"Our faith is intact. The dream of being champions continues
and it won't end until the championship is over," Velez told the
sports daily Ole on Friday.
"Obviously, we know we have tough opponents (in Racing) but
so do Estudiantes. Arsenal are the third best team in the
championship, they're having a great campaign. We must win our
match and hope."
Third-placed Arsenal will be no pushovers and Estudiantes
will be wary of a repeat of last season's Clausura when they
were held 0-0 at home in their penultimate match against Rosario
Central, who were later relegated, and allowed Argentinos to pip
them to the post.
Veron, who had reached five bookings in the 3-1 win over
title holders Argentinos Juniors, is back for the decider, as is
Perez who was sent off in a 2-1 away win over Independiente the
weekend before last and suspended for two matches.
Velez, whose Uruguayan striker Santiago Silva is top scorer
in the championship with 11 goals, will probably rue the day
they were held 0-0 at home by Estudiantes.
They are away to much improved Racing, whose 1-1 draw away
to Godoy Cruz in Mendoza was one of the best matches of the
season and kept them in fourth place.
River are fifth equal with Godoy Cruz but their poor points
average over three seasons means they are one place above the
relegation zone with only the Clausura championship in the
second half of the season left to ensure top flight survival.
River's caretaker coach JJ Lopez, in charge for five matches
since Angel Cappa was sacked, has said that he would not
continue at the helm after this championship.
Media speculated that Estudiantes coach Alex Sabella, who
began his playing career alongside Lopez at River, was favourite
to take over at the Monumental.
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