Highlights: Argentine Primera División, Apertura 2010 - Fecha 19

Estudiantes captain Juan Sebastián Verón lifts the Apertura 2010 trophy.
After Estudiantes de La Plata and Vélez Sársfield both won in midweek the Apertura 2010 championship in Argentina went down to the last round of fixtures at the weekend. The leaders Estudiantes faced a home tie against Arsenal de Sarandí, who had only lost twice on the road in the Apertura, while Vélez face a tricky away tie at Racing Club, who were beginning to look like a decent team again after years of turmoil.

Estudiantes had a two point lead over Vélez meaning that there were still three distinct possibilities. If Estudiantes equaled or bettered Vélez's result they would win the championship, if Estudiantes lost and Vélez won the championship would have gone to Liniers instead. The third tantalising possibility was a one off championship playoff which would have occurred if the top two teams finished level on points, irrespective of goal difference.

It looked like the Apertura 2010 tournament was destined for a playoff after Vélez established a 2-0 lead with a brilliant individual goal from Juan Manuel Martínez and an exceptional free kick from Maxi Moralez, and Estudiantes were being held 0-0 by Arsenal. It took two late goals for Estudiantes' ex Vélez striker Hernán López to secure a 5th domestic championship for the La Plata side.

In the first game of the final round All Boys recovered from conceding two goals in the first seven minutes against Godoy Cruz to draw 2-2, their equaliser came from a penalty in the 4th minute of injury time.

San Lorenzo finished off a poor season by their standards with a 2-1 win against Banfield. During the week Carlos Abdo was elected as San Lorenzo's new president, he said that keeping Ramón Diaz as manager would be his main priority. As for Banfield it was not the first time this season they have scored a wonderful goal but gone on to lose the game.

Colón's turbulent season ended with a 1-0 win against Newell's Old Boys, the only goal of the game came late in the second half and added a little bit of excitement to an otherwise pretty uninspiring game.

There were a few more interesting games this weekend, however the conclusion of the intruiging race for the last Copa Libertadores qualification place concluded early when the spot was given to Independiente after they won the Copa Sudamericana in midweek. On Monday they lost 1-0 away at Huracán who leapfrogged them out of last position, so Argentina's fifth representatives in the Libertadores lie in 20th position in the table.

The one remaining game (Independiente vs Tigre) could be quite important, with a win Independiente could finish as high as 18th in the table and leave Gimnasia y Esgrima de la Plata to suffer the humiliation of a bottom of the table finish. The other important issue that will have to wait until the outstanding game is played is that of the division's top scorer. Denis Stracqualursi netted his 10th of the season for Tigre in a 1-1 draw against Argentinos Juniors meaning that if he scores against Independiente he will finish as joint top scorer with Santiago Silva and if he bags a brace he will win the acolade outright.

Gimnasia y Esgrima could still end the season in last place but they can be pleased that they finally bagged an away goal in their 1-1 draw against Boca Juniors in la bombonera. They may however have preferred to have finished in last place and lost the game they drew 0-0 against Vélez which ended up handing the title to their local rivals Estudiantes.

Boca Juniors won't be happy to have dropped points against Gimnasia, however there was yet another personal milestone for Martín Palermo. He opened the scoring with his 300th career goal. 230 for Boca Juniors, 36 for Estudiantes, 21 for Villarreal, 3 for CD Alavés, 1 for Real Betis and 9 for the Argentina national team.

Olimpo and Quilmes; the two newly promoted teams that got off to really poor starts to the Apertura faced each other with the chance for one of them to reach the 1.00 points per game mark. The game was won by Quilmes with a 2nd minute goal from Danilo Gerlo meaning that they averaged exactly 1 point per game, a remarkable achievement given the fact that they failed to win any of their first 13 games before winning four of their last six. Olimpo are only one point behind on 18/19 meaning that Gimnasia, Huracán, River plate and Tigre may be spending much of the Clausura looking over their shoulders.

At the end of the 2010 Clausura River Plate ended their season with a humiliating 1-5 home defeat to Tigre, in the Apertura they faced a potentially difficult trip to Lanús. River's youth came good with a fine 1-4 win which featured a calamitous mistake from Lanús keeper Mauricio Caranta to gift Mariano Pavone his 2nd of the game and red cards for the Lanús manager Gabriel Schürrer and defender Santiago Hoyos.

All Boys 2-2 Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes 2-0 Arsenal
Racing Club 0-2Vélez Sársfield
San Lorenzo 2-1 Banfield
Colón 1-0 Newell's Old Boys
Huracán 1-0 Independiente
Lanús 1-4 River Plate
Boca Juniors 1-1 Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP)
Olimpo 0-1 Quilmes
Tigre 1-1 Argentinos Juniors

    *= Will not be fully determined until the postponed game between Independiente & Tigre is played.

    For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

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