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Irapuato Takes a Big Hit

September 23, 2003|Jim Barrero | Times Staff Writer

Irapuato, promoted to the Mexican first division this season, saw its dream start come to a crashing halt over the weekend as the Apertura championship closes in on its halfway point.

The upstarts from Central Mexico ran into a motivated Atlas team, which scored a 6-1 victory at Guadalajara, its first for new Coach Sergio Bueno.

Diego Perrone scored twice and Atlas scored five in a row after the teams were tied, 1-1, after eight minutes.

Meanwhile, Atlante took over the lead in Group 4 from Irapuato with 15 points when Colombia's Gabriel Rey scored in the 60th minute for a 1-0 victory over Tecos of Guadalajara.

Overall, Tigres of Nuevo Leon is now in front with 16 points after holding off visiting Necaxa, 2-1, on goals by Kleber Pereira in the 49th minute and Irenio Soares in the 73rd. In between, Necaxa's Victor Ruiz had tied the score in the 62nd minute. It was Necaxa's first loss after two victories and five ties.

Other highlights from the weekend:

* Santos overcame a 5-2 deficit with three goals in the last 15-plus minutes, including one by Matias Vuoso in injury time to salvage a 5-5 tie against Monterrey.

* Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored three second-half goals, including two on penalty kicks, to lead Club America to a 5-1 victory over San Luis.

* Puebla retained its one-point lead in Group 1 after a 2-0 victory over Queretaro, which has a league-worst seven losses and only one point. Jafet Soto of Costa Rica scored both goals in the second half.

* UNAM Pumas pushed into a Group 2 tie with Tecos after a 3-0 victory over Morelia on goals by Jaime Lozano, Ismael Iniguez and Ailton Da Silva.

Fan Dies in Italy

Violence among angry fans and police led to the death of a 19-year-old Italian man who fell from the upper deck of a stadium before a Serie B match involving Napoli and host Avellino on Saturday.

According to reports, Sergio Ercolano, a fan of Napoli, was with a group who charged police and entered the stadium without tickets.

Even after the incident, the violence continued, and at least 40 people were injured, more than half of whom were police officers.

Italian state TV quoted Giuseppe Pisanu, the country's interior minister, as saying he wouldn't hesitate to ban soccer games "which run great risks for safety and public order" if circumstances warrant.

English Incidents

An emotional 0-0 tie involving Manchester United and Arsenal on Sunday has resulted in an investigation by England's Football Assn. concerning on-field incidents during and after the game.

Several Arsenal players pushed and taunted United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy after he missed a penalty kick in second-half injury time. Players from both teams clashed at midfield when the game ended.

Gordon Taylor, the head of the Professional Footballers' Assn., didn't try to defend the players.

"What took place ... is just not acceptable and has to be addressed," Taylor said. "They are high-profile players being well paid, and that comes with a responsibility, a collective responsibility from all players and managers to show respect for each other and respect for referees."

Israeli Scandal

A match-fixing scandal swept through Israel on Monday when 13 people, including two referees and former Israel international player Eli Cohen, were charged with various crimes, including bribery and involvement in an illegal gambling ring.

Among the others charged was Bassem Suliman, a member of the Israeli Football Association's management and former general manager of Ahi Nazereth.

Quick Passes

Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero will have tests today to determine the extent of a calf injury suffered Sunday, with some reports saying he could be out as many as six weeks.... Roberto Donadoni, a former Italian and AC Milan standout, was fired as coach of Serie B team Genoa and replaced by Luigi De Canio after a goalless, winless start to the season.... Ze Roberto of Bayern Munich was suspended for three games by the German Football Assn. for kicking Bayer Leverkusen's Lucio in a game last weekend.... As expected, former Italian striker Fabrizio Ravenelli signed a two-year deal with Dundee of the Scottish Premier League.

Times wire services contributed to this report.

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