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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 18, 2006

Round-up of action from South America

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Cienciano recovered from a 12-hour bus journey across the Andes to beat Melgar 2-1 at the weekend and force a playoff with Universitario to decide the second stage of the Peruvian championship.

El Nacional won the title in Ecuador but their celebrations were overshadowed by a vicious brawl at tne end of another match.

PERU - Cienciano and Universitario finished level on 41 points at the top of the second stage after a dramatic finale and will play off on Wednesday.

The eventual winners will face Alianza Lima, who won the first stage of the championship in the first half of the year, in the end of season final.

Miguel Mostto scored an 83rd-minute winner as Cienciano came from behind to win 2-1 at Melgar. Cienciano, based in the Andean city of Cusco, were forced to charter a bus to travel to Arequipa after all flights out of the city were cancelled due to heavy rain and arrived at midnight on the eve the game.

Universtario beat Union Huaral 1-0 with a second-half goal by Mauricio Mendoza.

Coronel Bolognesi, who started the day on top, dropped to third after losing 2-0 to 10-man Deportivo San Martin, Oscar Villarreal and Victor Reyes scoring in the last five minutes.

Alianza Lima crashed 2-1 to relegation-threatened Sport Boys, who had Mario Gomez sent off in the 43rd minute and Fernando Masias in the 79th. Jose Herrera and Michael Guevara scored for Boys and Martin Liguera replied.

ECUADOR - A goalless draw at Olmedo gave El Nacional the title for the second time in a row as they finished the final stage of the marathon tournament with 19 points from 10 games.

The weekend was marred by a vicious brawl at the end of the 1-1 draw between LDU and Barcelona, whose midfielder Leonardo Soledispa was taken to hospital after being kicked while he was on the ground.

Media reports said that trouble started with an incident involving two players just before the end and escalated as soon as the final whistle went.

Argentine forward Luis Miguel Escalada, the championship's top scorer, took his final tally to 29 goals by scoring twice in Emelec's 4-0 win over Deportivo Quito.

COLOMBIA - A first-half goal by Rodrigo Saraz gave Cucuta a 1-0 win at home to Tolima in the first leg of the Clausura championship final between the two unfashionable provincial clubs.

Panamanian striker Blas Perez missed several chances to increase Cucuta's lead while Tolima were close to a late equaliser when John Charria's header was superbly saved by Robinson Zapata.

The visitors had Dumar Rueda sent off for a foul on Nelson Florez in the 74th minute.

Cucuta have never won the title and Tolima's only title came in 2003.

VENEZUELA - Caracas FC won the first stage of the championship on goal difference after beating UA Maracaibo 3-1 to finish level on 41 points with their opponents at the top.

Maracaibo, needing only a draw, went ahead in the 24th minute when Gabriel Urdaneta pounced on a defensive mistake and fired past Javier Toro.

Cesar Gonzalez equalised with a penalty in the 37th minute and Edder Perez put Caracas in front with a long-range shot three minutes later. Colombian striker Wilson Carpintero added the third two minutes from time.

CHILE - Colo Colo and Audax Italiano won their semi-final ties and will meet in the Clausura championship final after the weekend's two second legs produced six goals apiece.

Colo Colo, beaten by Mexico's Pachuca in the Copa Sudamericana final after losing the second leg at home on Wednesday, bounced back to draw 3-3 at Cobreloa and win 6-3 on aggregate.

Argentine Lucas Barrios gave Cobreloa a 24th-minute lead in Calama but Humberto Suazo and Matias Fernandez, from a penalty, gave the visitors a 2-1 halftime lead.

Barrios equalised in the 52nd minute, Suazo put Colo Colo back in front in the 71st and Juan Luis Gonzalez made it 3-3 three minutes later.

Audax Italiano survived a fightback by O'Higgins to win the other tie 6-5 on aggregate despite losing the return 4-2. Leading 4-1 from the first leg, Audax were 2-1 up with 25 minutes left before two goals from Venezuelan Giancarlo Maldonado and a Cesar Santis own goal in a seven minute spell put O'Higgins 4-2 ahead.

Marco Olea had the ball in the net for O'Higgins in injury-time but the goal, which would have forced a penalty shootout, was controversially disallowed for offside.

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