Three-way tie sends Argentina to dramatic playoff
San Lorenzo, Boca Juniors and Tigre all picked up victories in the final round of the Apertura Championship, and the trio ended the season tied on the same amount of points. For the first time in its history, the championship will be decided by a playoff between three teams.
San Lorenzo edged Argentinos Juniors 1-0, Tigre beat Banfield by the same score, and Boca Juniors defeated Colon de Santa Fe 3-2. The three teams ended the season with 39 points apiece. The three-way round-robin playoff will begin on Wednesday.
Miguel Angel Russo's San Lorenzo side went ahead in the eighth minute through Gonzalo Bergessio, who took advantage of a lapse of concentration in the Argentinos Juniors defence.
Despite heavy pressure from Argentinos for large part of the match, San Lorenzo held on, picking up a crucial victory that saw it end the regular season on top.
It finished as the highest scoring team in the tournament, with 34 goals, and conceded the least amount of goals, at 17. But unfortunately, goal difference isn't used to decide the outcome of the championship.
Boca Juniors overcame Colon de Santa Fe 3-2 at a packed Bombonera stadium, but they were in for a real fright, as although they took a comfortable 3-0 lead in the first half, a determined Colon pulled two goals back.
Luciano Figueroa put Boca in front in the ninth minute, and four minutes later, Juan Roman Riquelme doubled the lead. Carlos Ischia's team seemed to be cruising when Figueroa added its third in the 27th minute after meeting a Jesus Datolo cross with a good finish.
Two minutes before the halftime break, however, Nicolas Torres reduced the deficit for the visitors, and in the 53rd minute, Lucas Valdemarin pulled another goal back. But Boca ended up claiming the three points, even if it was made to sweat.
Tigre remains in contention for its first national championship in 106 years of existence after scraping past Banfield 1-0 in Victoria. Martin Morel, Tigre's top scorer this season, scored the all-important match winner in the 39th minute.
In Sunday's other matches, Arsenal de Sarandi beat Independiente 2-1 and Lanus edged San Martin 1-0. Lanus ended the season in fourth place, with 37 points. Godoy Cruz picked up a late 1-0 win over Rosario Central in Mendoza.
Huracan thrashed Velez Sarsfield 3-0 on Saturday, with goals from Matias De Federico (15'), Cesar Gonzalez (42') and Javier Pastore (48').
Argentine Clausura champions River Plate ended the season in last place after fighting out a 1-1 draw with Estudiantes de La Plata.
Eduardo Tuzzio put River ahead in the 55th minute, but Mauro Boselli earned Estudiantes a point with a strike in the 69th minute. Estudiantes captain Juan Sebastian Veron was ejected in the 82nd minute after headbutting an opponent.
River will be relieved that a disastrous season finally came to an end. It will be looking to rebuild next season in order to be competitive under new boss Nestor Gorosito.
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy and Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
On Friday night, Newell's Old Boys overwhelmed Racing Club towards the end of the match, ending the season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory in Rosario. The match also called for the farewell of 34-year-old midfielder Ariel Zapata.