BUENOS AIRES - Lanus were knocked off the top of the Argentine Clausura championship when they were thrashed 4-1 by bottom club Arsenal on Saturday. With two rounds of matches to go, Velez Sarsfield replaced Lanus as leaders by beating 10-man Newell's Old Boys 2-0. Lanus, coached by 28-year-old Luis Zubeldia, never recovered after conceding three goals in the first 23 minutes against an Arsenal team who had not won in their previous 12 games. Cristian Pellerano put Arsenal ahead in the eighth minute following a corner and Sergio Pena doubled their lead by converting a penalty 10 minutes later after goalkeeper Carlos Bossio upended Mauro Matos. Pellerano fired the third from the edge of the area in the 23rd minute. Maximiliano Velazquez replied in the 26th minute and Lanus nearly pulled another back in the second half when Jose Sand's shot was cleared off the line. Instead, Dario Benedetto added a fourth for the hosts late in the game to lift them off the bottom of the table and give 1986 World Cup winner Jorge Burruchaga his first win since returning to coach the team for a second time. Velez, who have 36 points from 17 games, went two points clear after winning a scrappy game. Uruguayan Hernan Lopez gave Velez the lead five minutes before halftime when he turned in Maxi Moralez's pass from close range and the visitors had midfielder Lucas Bernardi sent off one minute later for insulting the referee. Moralez helped himself to the second in the 56th minute.
14 June 2009
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