Rosario derby ends all square

BUENOS AIRES - Newell's Old Boys were held 2-2 by Rosario Central in a pulsating Rosario derby in the Argentine championship on Sunday with three goals in the opening quarter of an hour.

With the arch enemies attacking as if with daggers between their teeth, the referee had to issue a warning after a knife was thrown on to the pitch that he would halt the match if there was more crowd trouble.

The result left unbeaten Banfield, who won 2-1 at Independiente on Saturday, two points clear of second-placed Newell's in the Apertura championship with four matches to go.

Central's young team raced into a two-goal lead in 12 minutes, forcing Newell's on to the back foot with their attacking verve and accurate finishing as wing Gervasio Nunez and right back Diego Chitzoff drove shots past keeper Sebastian Peratta.

Newell's hit back when Uruguayan striker Joaquin Boghossian sidetapped in a low cross from the right into the roof of the net and Paraguayan Jorge Achucarro equalised just before the hour when he backheeled a free-kick inside the bottom right corner.

Further chances were squandered at both ends as there was no let up to the intensity of the match, one of Argentina's major "clasicos", between the "Lepers" of Newell's, hosting the match at their Parque Independencia ground, and Central's "Knaves".

Midfielder Mauro Formica should have put Newell's back on top of the table but fluffed a clear chance for a winner. The result ended a run of six wins in a row for Newell's.

Uruguayan striker Santiago "Tank" Silva scored the winner for Banfield to take his tally to 12.

Banfield have 35 points, Newell's 33 and third-placed Estudiantes 29 having played one more match.

South American champions Estudiantes have been packing their matches into a shorter time span before heading for next month's Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. They will play their remaining three matches by December 4.