BUENOS AIRES - River Plate are in danger
of being relegated for the first time after goalkeeper Juan
Pablo Carrizo's blunder cost them a victory over San Lorenzo in
the Argentine championship on Sunday.
Despite their fifth-place position in the current
championship, River dropped into a relegation zone based on
their average points over the last three seasons.
River were leading San Lorenzo at the Monumental when
Carrizo let a head-height shot from 25 metres by Jonathan
Ferrari slip though his fingers and drop into the net in the
73rd minute for a 1-1 draw.
"A mistake by me and I gave away the triumph," Carrizo,
whose errors also contributed to River's defeat by arch-rivals
Boca Juniors last weekend, told reporters.
Striker Leandro Caruso had given River the lead with a neat
back-heel close to the half-hour mark.
River hold an Argentine record 33 league titles and have
never been relegated but will face a promotion playoff with a
second-tier Nacional B side if their three-season points average
does not improve.
They have traded places with Olimpo, who beat Argentinos
Juniors 1-0 on Saturday and whom River visit next weekend.
The relegation heat also intensified at Huracan, whose fans
rioted with their team 2-0 down at home to title holders
Estudiantes forcing the referee to abandon the match with an
hour still to play on Saturday.
Home fans began throwing seats, stones and other objects
onto the pitch from the stands after their team conceded the
After Estudiantes fans taunted the Huracan supporters with
relegation chants and joined in the fighting, referee German
Delfino abandoned the match and the Argentine Football
Association is expected to rule on the issue on Thursday.
Financially troubled Independiente, like River one of
Argentina's "Big Five" who had slipped dangerously close to the
relegation zone, eased their worries by beating Colon 3-1 after
the players were persuaded not to strike over unpaid wages.
Title favourites Velez Sarsfield are three points clear with
four matches to go after Sunday's 2-0 home win over Gimnasia.
However, second-placed Godoy Cruz could have been only one
point behind Velez. They drew 1-1 at Banfield on Friday in a
match they should have won.
A long-range strike from Diego Villar came down off the bar
almost half a metre inside the goal but was ruled not to have
crossed the line.
Embarrassed referee Saul Laverni admitted on Saturday after
seeing video replays that Villar's goal should have stood.
"I can't hide under the carpet what everyone saw nor justify
the unjustifiable," he said. "I did not have a good night."
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