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Argentina Clausura Results: Arsenal & Tigre chase first title after Boca falter

Argentina Clausura Results:

Round 18


Friday JUNE 15

Sunday JUNE 17

Lanus - Union 0-0 Independiente - San Lorenzo 0-0
 San Martin (SJ) - Newell's Old Boys 2-1 Argentinos Jrs - All Boys 1-0
    Rafaela - Racing Club 4-2
Boca Juniors - Arsenal de Sarandi 0-3
 Saturday JUNE 16

Monday JUNE 18
Belgrano - Banfield 3-1 Colon - Godoy Cruz 2-0
Estudiantes - Olimpo 1-0    
Velez Sarsfield - Tigre 0-1    

Boca Juniors
Arsenal de Sarandi
A humiliating defeat in front of their own fans all but leaves Boca Juniors out of the race for the 2012 Clausura, while Arsenal's dreams of winning their first-ever Primera title grow as they share the summit with Tigre.

The visitors waited barely a minute before taking the lead against the Xeneize, who had one both of the side's previous meetings this year in the Copa Libertadores group stage. Carlos Carbonero's looping cross had goalkeeper Orion unsure whether to claim or not, and that was all the invitation Emilio Zelaya needed to head home the opener with just 90 seconds on the clock.

Perhaps weary from their Libertadores exertions against Universidad de Chile, Boca were nevertheless played off the park by a wonderful team performance from Gustavo Alfaro's men. Luciano Leguizamon made sure that all three points would be heading to Sarandi as he scored in both halves to confirm a 3-0 thrashing, while Boca also saw Franco Sosa and coach Julio Falcioni sent off in a match to forget.

Arsenal's win puts them two points clear of Boca with just one game remaining of the Clausura, level on 35 alongside fellow leaders Tigre. The Arse will guarantee at least a play-off for the title if they take maximum points at home to Belgrano on Sunday.
Velez Sarsfield

Another top of the table clash ended with victory for 2012's most impressive side, as Tigre continue to astound commenters who had written them off as relegation certainties at the start of the year with a narrow win over Velez in Liniers.

Playing before rivals Arsenal and Boca, the Matador knew that a full three points against a Velez team who were still mathematically in the title race would see them go at least temporarily to the top. Conversely, San Martin's win over Newell's also meant a victory was vital if Rodolfo Arruabuena's men wanted to keep out of the relegation zone for the second week running; and salvation for the Victoria side was worth waiting for.

With just 12 minutes left on the clock, Carlos Luna sneaked through unmarked on the left-hand side to go one-on-one with Marcelo Barovero. The ex-Racing and Liga de Quito striker delighted the away support with a beautiful lob that left the keeper stranded and sealed a 1-0 triumph, also moving the Clausura top scorer on to 11 goals for the season.

Tigre therefore share the summit with Arsenal, but even a win next week and the title would not ensure them safety from the promocion; if other results go against them, the Matador would have to fight a play-off.
San Lorenzo
The stakes could not possibly be higher for San Lorenzo as they enter a decisive final weekend, after an uninspiring draw against grande rivals Independiente left the Cuervo languishing in direct relegation.

Wins for Tigre, San Martin and, later, Rafaela meant that three points in Avellaneda were vital for the team directed by Ricardo Caruso Lombardi, who have now failed to record a win in their last two outings following that gripping 3-2 comeback against Newell's. After a poor first half from both teams San Lorenzo started to take the initiative when Julian Velazquez's expulsion opened up the game, but they could find no way through the solid Hilario Navarro.

The Cuervo host San Martin de San Juan on the final weekend knowing that their destiny is out of their hands. If both Banfield and Rafaela triumph in the last round, the Bajo Flores side will go directly to the Nacional B.

Best of the Rest
Rafaela gave their survival chances a huge boost after fighting to an entertaining victory over Racing Club on Sunday. The lead changed hands three times in a gripping clash, but it was the Santa Fe province side who pulled away in the second half to record a 4-2 win that takes them clear of the drop zone. Banfield, meanwhile, suffered a different fate; the Taladro's 3-1 reverse at the hands of Cordoba leaves them in promocion.

Gabi Milito said goodbye to Independiente against San Lorenzo, but there were more positive farewells for Juan Sebastian Veron and Esteban Fuertes. 'La Bruja' was acclaimed by Estudiantes fans as his last game in La Plata ended in a 1-0 victory over Olimpo, while 'Bichi' Fuertes scored both goals in Colon's 2-0 win over Godoy Cruz.

An incredible six red cards, meanwhile, marked the end of All Boys' unlikely Clausura title bid as they went down to local rivals Argentinos Juniors. The Albo finished Sunday's clash with just seven men in an ill-tempered clasico, while Juan Jose Morales received two yellow cards within two minutes of scoring the only goal of a 1-0 win and was one of two Bicho players expelled.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly...

Hero of the Week

Primera Division journeyman; Derby County's passport fraudster; one-cap wonder under Diego Maradona: Esteban Fuertes has seen it all during his career, but Colon fans will remember him as one of their greatest idols. 'El Bichi' played his last ever game in Santa Fe at the grand age of 39, and his double was a fitting way to say goodbye to the Elephant's Graveyard.

Zero/s of the Week

The grandes of Argentine football, Boca, River, Racing, Independiente and San Lorenzo, take pride in their dominance over the years. It was a weekend to forget for the big boys though: three of the clubs slumped to painful defeats, while El Rojo and San Lore played out a draw that was painful to watch.

Farewell of the Week

Did you know that Juan Sebastian Veron won an Intercontinental Cup? He did not either, until he was 'crowned' champion in a wonderfully over the top goodbye celebration in the Estadio Unico. A member of performance artist group Fuerza Bruta was recruited to dress like a witch and float down on a broomstick from the stadium rafters, trophy in hand, before handing it to 'La Brujita' in what must enter the Guinness book of records as the most elaborate presentation in the history of football.