Lisandro Lopez's wonderful finish was enough to secure a first domestic title for the side founded by Julio Grondona, pipping a Tigre team that nevertheless celebrated survival
Argentina Clausura Results:
|Friday JUNE 22
||Saturday JUNE 23
|Olimpo - Argentinos Jrs||0-0||Newell's Old Boys - Lanus||0-0|
|Racing Club - Velez Sarsfield||1-2|
| Sunday JUNE 24
||Sunday JUNE 24 (cont.)|
|Banfield - Colon||0-3||Godoy Cruz - Rafaela||1-3|
|All Boys - Boca Juniors||3-1||Arsenal de Sarandi - Belgrano||1-0|
|Tigre - Independiente||2-2||San Lorenzo - San Martin (SJ)||1-3|
|Union - Estudiantes||2-2|
|Arsenal de Sarandi||1-0
|History was made on Sunday evening as the dust settled on a brilliant finale to the 2012 Clausura, leaving Gustavo Alfaro's Arsenal charges as the winners of the championship following a narrow win over Belgrano.
Tied level on points with Tigre at the start of play, the Sarandi outfit knew that if both teams matched their results the Primera would be stretched into a further play-off to decide its fate. Happily for Arsenal fans, however, that would not be necessary as Lisandro Lopez proved the difference against the Cordoba side.
The 22-year-old starlet, regarded as one of the best defenders in Argentina, showed he is no slouch either in front of goal with a ripping volley to convert Luciano Leguizamon's corner into the back of the net. Tigre's inability to take all three points against Independiente, meanwhile, confirmed that the side founded by Julio Grondona and administrated by his son would be doing their first-ever lap of honour.
The Clausura marks the club's first national triumph, and joins the 2007 Copa Sudamericana and 2008 Suruga Bank trophies in the Sarandi trophy cabinet. Arsenal also become the first team who have appeared at all five levels of Argentine football to finish champions in the top flight.
Two strikes from Patito Rodriguez may have robbed Tigre of the chance to win the first national title in their history, but the big prize for the Matador was forthcoming as they completed a brilliant great escape from a relegation that just six months ago appeared inevitable.
Needing to better Arsenal de Sarandi's result for the chance to finish on top, but also knowing that other results could send them to the promocion play-off even with a win, Tigre resolved, as they have throughout the season, to push men forward and go for the jugular. Carlos Luna was once more the beneficiary, netting from close-range 20 minutes in as he pounced upon a loose ball in the area.
Patricio Rodriguez levelled proceedings just after the break, and the No. 10 doubled his and the Rojo tally moments later with a cool finish to make it 2-1. Tigre hopes were then raised 12 minutes from the end when Diego Morales coolly converted a penalty; but the third goal remained elusive and the Matador had to settle for a draw.
Rodolfo Arruabuena's charges therefore finish the Clausura in second place, two points behind champions Arsenal. At the bottom, meanwhile, they finish clear of both direct relegation and the play-offs; a terrific achievement for a team that were written off prior to the start of the season.
||San Martin de San Juan
|San Lorenzo completed their very own great escape at the weekend to avoid direct relegation by the very skin of their teeth, although both Ricardo Caruso Lombardi's battlers and San Martin will have to face the agony of the Promocion after Sunday's win.
Needing a win to avoid a second visit to the Nacional B, things looked bleak in Bajo Flores when, after 27 minutes, Gaston Caprari fired in to put Facundo Sava's charges into the lead. In what proved to be a decisive moment, however, Carlos Bueno equalised minutes after the opener; San Martin players protested furiously that there was a foul in the buildup to the Uruguayan's goal, leading to Mauro Bogado being shown the red card.
From that point it was advantage Ciclon. Walter Kanneman handed the hosts the lead after half-time, before Bueno sent the Gasometro crowd into euphoria when he confirmed the three points that sent Banfield down to the Nacional B in the place of San Lorenzo.
San Lorenzo and San Martin will both play opposition from the second-tier as they bid to confirm their status in the top flight. Caruso's men face Instituto, while the San Juan outfit must overcome Juan Antonio Pizzi's Rosario Central over two legs.
|Best of the Rest|
|Joy for San Lorenzo meant agony for Banfield, as the Taladro went down during a game where the only fight show was unfortunately in the stands. Eduardo Acevedo's men capitulated at home to Colon, with Esteban Fuertes netting twice in his final game before retirement to seal a 3-0 victory. The game had to be cut short midway through the second half when Banfield fans invaded the pitch, but the result stood and the side join Olimpo in the Nacional B.
Elsewhere, Rafaela confirmed a second season in Primera with an impressive comeback victory over Godoy Cruz. The Crema could have still finished in direct relegation at the end of Sunday, but having gone behind rallied well to eventually beat the Mendocinos 3-1 and stay clear of any drop-zone issues.
3-1 also provided a perfect end to the season for All Boys. The Floresta outfit dispatched a youthful Boca Juniors side by the same scoreline to end any hope they had of winning the Clausura, confirming the Peste's brilliant finish of joint third alongside Sunday's opponents and Velez Sarsfield. Velez also enjoyed a positive end to proceedings, hitting late through Augusto Fernandez to see off lowly Racing Club 2-1 in Avellaneda.
|The Good, the Bad & the Ugly...|
Hero of the Week
It was a goal worthy of winning the championship. Lisandro Lopez has been a rock all year for Arsenal de Sarandi, and the highly-rate centre-back showed his prowess at the other end with a stunning volley that brought the Clausura to El Viaducto. A great future is in store for this powerful defender.
Zero of the Week
Banfield's fate was sealed at the weekend with a pitiful defeat at the hands of Colon that ends their time in the Primera A. Just 22 points across 38 games in 2011-12 dragged the Taladro into relegation, with four coaches across the 12 months managing a pathetic five wins between them as it all ended in tears for a side that won the 2009 Apertura and should have been safe.
Brotherly Love of the Week
Having flattered to deceive in both the Apertura and Clausura campaigns, Lanus are betting on a coaching duo that should have no problem working together for the coming season. Twins Guillermo and Gustavo Barros Schelotto will be at the helm for the Granate starting from the 2012 Apertura, and they will have work to do to improve on a mediocre 10th-place finish in the last tournament.