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Latin America round-up

© Reuters Limited 2001

By Brian Homewood

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The Argentine championship finally got under way at the weekend after a two-week delay caused by a players' strike. Two more coaches lost their jobs in Mexico, while in Brazil Goias goalkeeper Harlei finally had to pick the ball out of his net for the first time in over eight hours' play.

South American champions Boca Juniors crashed to a 3-1 home defeat by Belgrano as the Apertura championship, delayed for two weeks because of a players' strike, finally got underway. Boca, who were missing injured midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme and who have sold several members of the team that won the Libertadores Cup in June, fell behind to a Sergio Castillo free kick in the 23rd minute. Walter Gaitan equalised in the second half, but Boca midfielder Sebastian Battaglia was then sent off for a second bookable offence and the visitors won with further goals by Rubiel Martinez and Colombian Rubiel Quintana. Boca's arch-rivals River Plate won 3-1 away to Talleres as coach Ramon Diaz began his second stint at the club. River fell behind to a ninth minute goal by Cesar La Paglia but two goals from Martin Cardetti and one from Paraguayan defender Celso Ayala give them three points. Champions San Lorenzo began with a 3-0 win away to promoted Nueva Chicago, while Uruguay's Diego Forlan scored a hat-trick for Independiente in their 4-1 win at Velez Sarsfield. The players called off their strike - the second this year - last week after finally reaching an agreement with the clubs about the payment of outstanding wages and bonuses.

Leon coach Edgardo Fuentes walked out hours before his team's match against Santos Laguna complaining about interference from club president Roberto Zermeno. The Chilean coach had been in charge for only two matches. Leon went on to beat the defending champions 4-2 thanks to two penalties converted by Sigfrido Mercado and one each from Paraguayan Denis Caniza and Yugoslav Zdenko Muf. Miguel Mejia Baron, who led Mexico at the 1994 World Cup, stepped down as coach of UNAM after a 2-1 home defeat by Atlante. He became the fourth coach to either be sacked or resign in the Invierno championship after only six rounds of matches. Chilean veteran Ivan Zamorano scored his third goal of the tournament for America who were held to a 1-1 draw by promoted La Piedad.

Goias, who completed their first five Brazilian championship matches without conceding a goal, went down to a 1-0 home defeat to Internacional. Goalkeeper Harlei had kept his goal intact for eight hours and 28 minutes until he was finally beaten by midfielder Juca. The goal gave Internacional, coached by former Brazil trainer Carlos Alberto Parreira, their fourth successive win after they had begun with two straight defeats. Atletico Paranaense also lost their unbeaten record when they went down 2-0 to Sao Paulo, who had Brazil international Belletti sent off for punching an opponent in the 15th minute.

El Nacional and Olmedo stayed level on points at the top in the championship's second stage after playing out a goalless draw in Quito. Third-placed Deportivo Quito closed the gap on the leading pair to one point by thrashing Liga de Portoviejo 6-1.

Sporting Cristal and Melgar both lost 100 percent records in the championship's second stage. Cristal surprisingly slumped to a 3-1 defeat against lowly Coopsol for whom Argentine Marcelo Millan scored twice. Melgar were beaten 1-0 by Sport Boys, who had Jair Iglesias sent off but won thanks to a 58th minute goal by Miguel Zagaceta. Universitario, champions for the last three years, continued their miserable season by losing 2-0 to Deportivo Pesquero. Jorge Ramirez scored both goals. Melgar, Cristal and Sport Boys are level at the top with nine points.

Bolivar beat arch-rivals The Strongest 3-1 in Sunday's La Paz derby to stay top of the second stage.

Leaders Universidad de Chile, who are chasing their fourth successive title, were held to a 2-2 draw by Deportes Concepcion and saw their lead cut to three points over Colo Colo, who won 2-1 at home to Huachipato. Colo Colo leapfrogged Wanderers to go second after the team from Valparaiso lost their unbeaten home record in a 3-1 defeat by Universidad Catolica. Universidad de Chile have taken only one point from a possible six since the championship restarted after the Copa America.

Danubio, who have a maximum 12 points from four games, stayed top even though their match against Defensor Sporting was called off because of a waterlogged pitch. Champions Nacional and Wanderers took advantage to go level on points as they both won their games 3-1. Sebastian Abreu was again on target for Nacional, his fifth goal in three games since joining the club from Argentine champions San Lorenzo. Marcelo Saralegui and Walter Coelho scored the other goals.

Sportivo Luqueno lead the second stage after beating Cerro Cora 3-0, with striker Osvaldo Cohener setting up the first goal for Edgar Denis and then scoring the second and third himself.

Reports provided by

Monday, 27 August
Todorov to miss World Cup qualifier in Malta
Hagi names uncapped keepers for Hungary clash
Germany's Scholl to miss England qualifier
Sunday, 26 August
Ailing Berkovic dropped for Bosnia match
Trinidad have new look for World Cup qualifiers
Liverpool's Murphy called up for England qualifiers
Rui Costa out for month with broken hand
England squad to face Germany and Albania
Beckham should be fit for Germany clash, says Ferguson
Saturday, 25 August
Italy squad for World Cup qualifier with Lithuania
Friday, 24 August
Playing Brazil or Venezuela is the same for Batistuta
Congo appoint Watunda as coach
Sweden call up Benfica's Andersson for qualifiers
Beckham is our biggest threat, says Germany's Voeller
Belgium squad for World Cup qualifier vs Scotland
Hungary squad for World Cup qualifier vs Georgia
Clubless Guardiola pays international price for Spain
Schwarz announces international retirement
Spanish squad for World Cup qualifiers
Striker Smith ruled out of Germany qualifier
Sweden's injured Soderstrom to miss two World Cup ties
Thursday, 23 August
Chile coach annouces squad to face France then resigns
Mexico beat Liberia in nine-goal thriller
Voeller vows Germans will handle pressure
Scotland announce squad for Croatia and Belgium matches
Portugal name squad for World Cup qualifiers
Bosnia announce squad for World Cup qualifiers
Armenia recall Berezovsky for World Cup qualifiers
Hagi calls up Romania's foreign legion for Hungary clash
McAllister can't be tempted to return for Scotland
Wednesday, 22 August
Tomaschek injured for Slovakia World Cup qualifiers
Lithuania squad for World Cup qualifiers
Northern Ireland squad for World Cup qualifiers
Romania's Stelea may miss Hungary qualifier
Tuesday, 21 August
Denmark name squad for September World Cup qualifiers
Belarus recall Kachuro for World Cup qualifiers
Repka out of Czech World Cup squad after missing friendly
Keller admits U.S. place in doubt after Spurs move
Two join Hristov's boycott of Macedonia coach
France add Letizi and Makelele for Chile trip
CSKA's Perkhun still in coma after clash of heads
Bjorklund turns down chance to play for Sweden
Singapore and Indonesia to co-host Tiger Cup

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