Estudiantes slump ahead of Club World Cup

BUENOS AIRES - Estudiantes' hopes of a 2009 treble virtually disappeared in a 1-0 home defeat by Colon in the Argentine first division on Wednesday.

The South American champions, set to play in the Club World Cup next month, succumbed to a stoppage time goal by striker Federico Nieto that lifted Colon to third, four points behind leaders Banfield with three matches left.

Estudiantes, resting several players including captain Juan Sebastian Veron as they prepare for their trip to Abu Dhabi for the December 9-19 tournament, are six points behind Banfield with only two matches left. Banfield have four games to play.

Nieto, second on the top scorers' list, took his tally to 11 with a fine volley from the edge of the box that gave keeper Damian Albil no chance.

Estudiantes were denied a goal by right back Clemente Rodriguez in the first half for offside though television replays suggested the linesman's decision may have been incorrect.

Coach Alejandro Sabella's Estudiantes, who lifted the club's fourth Libertadores Cup in July, visit River Plate on Saturday and are at home to Chacarita Juniors on December 4 in their last two matches before heading to the Emirates.