Favourites Boca Juniors
failed to break down nine-man Racing Club in a 0-0 draw at the
Bombonera on Sunday but kept the eight-point lead that should
guarantee them the Argentine title with four matches to go.
After 15 matches, unbeaten Boca have 33 points and Racing 25
with four teams a point further back including title holders
Velez Sarsfield and Colon, who beat Atletico Rafaela 1-0 in
Santa Fe with a goal from veteran striker Esteban Fuertes.
Lanus, who have 23 points, can move up to second within
seven of Boca if they beat Arsenal at home on Monday.
Racing needed to win on Sunday to keep a realistic chance of
beating Boca to the Apertura championship crown.
Instead, they would have lost but for some fine goalkeeping
from Sebastian Saja, who kept Racing afloat as midfielder
Agustin Pelletieri was sent off in the 49th minute for a second
booking and Colombian striker Teofilo Gutierrez was shown a
straight red in the 76th.
Gutierrez, who controversially arrived back late on Friday
from international duty with Colombia on Tuesday, attacked
referee Nestor Pitana after believing he should have been
awarded a penalty when he went down in the box.
"It's really depressing. We needed to win [to stay in the
title race] but to beat Boca is hard enough, no-one has done it
with 11 men so to do so with nine is practically impossible,"
Saja told reporters.
San Lorenzo, another of Argentina's "Big Five" clubs, were
beaten 1-0 at home by promoted Union and remain stuck in the
bottom four places of the relegation table.
Relegation is calculated on points averages over three
seasons and, as things stand, the Saints will need a play-off at
the end of the season in June to try to retain their first
Playmaker Paulo Rosales scored the only goal against the run
of play when he spotted goalkeeper Nereo Champagne off his line
and lobbed into the net from outside the box in the 73rd minute.
The home players were jeered off the Nuevo Gasometro pitch
by their fans, who accused them of a lack of passion and
demanding more commitment.
Central defender Jonathan Bottinelli, one of the principal
targets of the fans' ire, said: "We played a great game but
suffered a fatality as has been happening to us lately. We made
one mistake and they scored."
He told reporters he was against coach Omar Asad quitting
because he did not think that would resolve matters, adding "We
have to grit our teeth and bear it."
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