S.America Roundup: Higuita gaffes again

BUENOS AIRES - Eccentric Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita, still playing first division football at the age of 42, made another spectacular blunder during Pereira's 3-0 defeat at America at the weekend.

Rangers coach Oscar del Solar announced his resignation in Chile, even though his team qualified for the semi-finals of the Clausura championship.

COLOMBIA

America kicked off the semi-final group stage of the Clausura championship with a 3-0 win over Pereira on a miserable afternoon for Higuita, who has made the latest comeback of his career with the provincial side.

Harrison Otalvaro gave America a 16th minute lead from a penalty which Higuita just failed to reach and Victor Cortes doubled their lead in the 56th minute after rounding the keeper to score.

Higuita's worst moment came in the last minute when he rushed out of his penalty area towards the halfway line, tried to head the ball away, missed and allowed Paulo Cesar Arango to score into an empty net.

Higuita, who has made a trademark out of his forays upfield as well as his scorpion kick, has suffered several similar mishaps throughout his career, most glaringly at the 1990 World Cup against Cameroon.

America's Pablo Armero and Pereira's Julian Barahona were sent off for fighting in the 87th minute of the Group B match.

Atletico Junior beat Deportivo Cali 2-0 in the group's other match.

Independiente Medellin went top of Group A with a 2-1 win over Deportes Tolima while La Equidad and Atletico Nacional played out a goalless draw.

CHILE

Rangers coach Oscar del Solar announced his resignation immediately after his team beat Universidad Catolica on away goals to reach the semi-finals of the Clausura championship.

"I think my stay at the club has come to an end," said Del Solar, who had become embroiled in a row with club directors over bonuses.

Rangers were held 1-1 at home on Sunday but qualified thanks to their 2-2 draw away in the first leg.

Alvaro Sarabia gave them a 57th minute lead but they had Marco Villaseca sent off seven minutes later. Marcos Gonzalez headed an 87th minute equaliser for the visitors, who were unable to find a winner.

Universidad de Chile also went out despite beating Cobreloa 3-2, helped by two goals from former Lazio striker Marcelo Salas. The Desert Foxes progressed thanks to their 3-0 win in the first leg.

In the other ties, Colo Colo beat Huachipato 4-2 to complete a 5-3 aggregate win and Palestino beat O'Higgins 2-1 to win 4-3.

ECUADOR

Deportivo Quito moved another step closer to the title with a 1-0 win over local rivals El Nacional, Luis Saritama scoring the winner in the 50th minute.

The win kept Deportivo three points clear at the top of the 2008 championship's six-team final stage with three matches to play.

South American champions LDU stayed in touch by beating Barcelona 2-1 after the visitors had Omar de Jesus sent off for a second bookable offence in the 37th minute.

Neicer Reasco and Claudio Bieler scored twice in two minutes before halftime for LDU and Pablo Palacios pulled one back in the second half.

Barcelona dropped six points behind the leaders.

PARAGUAY

Libertad stayed on course for their fourth successive title by beating 2 de Mayo 3-0. Vladimir Marin opened the scoring and Juan Samudio added two more in the second half.

Libertad lead the Clausura championship by three points from Guarani, who beat Silvio Pettirossi 3-1.


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