Four-goal Sand ensures Lanus stay top

BUENOS AIRES - Striker Jose Sand scored four goals to lead Lanus to a 5-1 win over Independiente on Sunday that kept them top of the Argentine championship. Sand's strikes also gave Americo Gallego a miserable start to his second stint as coach of Independiente after he replaced Miguel Santoro. Diego Valeri gave Lanus a 12th minute lead but Independiente appeared to be on top after Federico Mancuello equalised in the 22nd minute, taking his chance calmly after the ball ricocheted off a defender. However, Sand took advantage of slack defending to score at the near post on the stroke of halftime and Gallego's team never recovered. Eduardo Savio dispossessed Mancuello to set up Sand's second in the 79th minute and he completed his hat-trick 10 minutes later after beating the offside trap and placing a low shot past Fabian Assman. Sand's fourth, which took his tally in the championship to eight in as many games, came from an injury-time penalty. Lanus lead the Clausura championship with 18 points, one ahead of Colon who beat Huracan 1-0 away on Friday. Estudiantes equalised in the sixth minute of injury-time to hold arch-rivals Gimnasia-La Plata to a 1-1 draw in the La Plata derby. Juan Cuevas volleyed Gimnasia ahead in the 71st minute before Leandro Benitez of Estudiantes and Diego Villar of Gimnasia were sent off. Gimnasia were on the point of celebrating their first win over their bitter rivals for four years when substitute Christian Sanchez Prette equalised in the 96th minute. Defending champions Boca Juniors continued their indifferent form when they were held 1-1 at home by modest Godoy Cruz, leaving them ninth with 11 points.