Round-up: Food poisoning paralyses Paraguayans

Paraguayan team 3 de Febrero were hit by a bout of food poisoning which landed one player in hospital before their game against Guarani at the weekend. Deportivo Italia won the first stage of the Venezuela championship and veteran goalkeeper Rene Higuita conceded three goals for the second weekend in a row in Colombia.

PARAGUAY

Guarani won 4-1 at 3 de Febrero and closed the gap on leaders Libertad to one point with one match each to play in the Clausura championship.

Relegation-threatened 3 de Febrero said that seven of their players were hit before the match by a bout of food poisoning which was blamed on a juice drink mixed with vitamins.

"This needs to be investigated," said coach Pedro Nelson Fleitas. "We don't know if the product was past its sell-by date of if somebody put something intentionally in the juice."

Defender Juan Ortiz was treated in hospital and several other players missed the game.

Gilberto Palacios scored twice for Guarani while Federico Carballo and Jonathan Fabrro, from a penalty, notched the other goals for Guarani. William Schuster replied for the hosts.

Libertad, attempting to win their fourth consecutive title, were held 1-1 by Nacional. Juan Samudio put Libertad ahead and Julio Ortellado equalised.

VENEZUELA

Deportivo Italia won the first stage of the 2008/09 championship with two matches to spare when they beat Aragua FC 2-0 away.

Cristian Casseres and Mauro Conocciari scored in each half to send Italia eight points clear of second-placed Caracas FC, who suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Monagas.

Deportivo Italia qualified for the end-of-season final where they will meet the winners of the second stage which starts in January. Italia will take the title automatically if they win the second stage as well.

COLOMBIA

Forty-two-year-old goalkeeper Rene Higuita had another miserable day as Pereira were outclassed 3-0 at Deportivo Cali in the semi-final group stage of the Clausura championship.

The eccentric former Colombia international was powerless to stop Danny Aguilar opening the scoring in the ninth minute and lucky not to give away a penalty when he upended Armando Carillo in the second half.

Freddy Montero added two more for Cali in the second half of the Group B match, including the second from a penalty, to take his tally to 16 in the championship.

America went top of the group with five points from three games after a 1-1 draw at Atletico Junior, who had Emerson Acuna sent off in the 33rd minute. Junior and Cali have four points each.

Independiente Medellin won 3-2 at La Equidad to go three points clear at the top of Group A.

CHILE

Palestino came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 at Rangers in their Clausura championship semi-final first leg.

Marcelo Lucero and Juan Manuel Carvallo scored twice i