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Jan, 30, 2008

Libertadores: Arsenal win to boost qualifying chances

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Copa Sudamericana champion Arsenal began its pursuit of South America's premier club title with a 2-0 victory over Mineros of Venezuela on Tuesday, getting a goal in each half to prevail in its preliminary phase first-leg match.

Jose Luis Calderon gave the Argentine side the lead in the 41st minute and Luciano Leguizamon right-footer added the insurance in the 78th.

The second leg will be played next Tuesday in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, with the winner on aggregate advancing to Group 8 with Fluminense of Brazil, Libertad of Paraguay and Liga de Quito of Ecuador in the league phase of the competition.

Arsenal won the Copa Sudamericana - South America's second-tier club championship - in December, beating Mexico's America for its first major title in 50 years of existence.

Mineros is making its fourth appearance in the Libertadores, having never advanced beyond the first round.

Tuesday's match was the first of six preliminary phase matches to determine the final qualifiers for the 32-team league phase.

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