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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Velez Sarsfield Wins Argentine Championship

BUENOS AIRES -- Goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert saved a penalty and nearly scored from a free kick as Velez Sarsfield drew 0-0 with Independiente to win the Argentine Clausura championship.


The burly Paraguayan, who has scored twice from free kicks and twice from penalties during the tournament, on Saturday pushed away a 65th minute penalty by former Argentine international Jorge Burruchaga.


He also came close to scoring from a first-half free kick but his shot was spectacularly saved by Colombian international Farid Mondragon in the Independiente goal.


The result was enough for Velez to take the title as second-placed Gimnasia La Plata, which began the day one point behind, was held to a 1-1 draw away to local rival Estudiantes.


Two tournaments -- the Apertura and Clausura -- are played during the Argentine season and Velez, which won this season's Apertura, became the first club to win the double since the split was made in 1991.


Chilavert, who makes almost as many headlines for his outspoken comments as for his goalkeeping and goalscoring, was the hero of Velez's triumphant campaign, his four goals making him the team's fifth top scorer.


"I just work as a professional for my team and this is simply the result of my efforts," he said.


Chilavert is due to play for Paraguay against Argentina in a World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires on Sept. 1.


Gimnasia, which lost the 1995 Clausura title on the last day of the season, saw its hopes take a blow when it fell to a Claudio Paris goal early on.


Roberto Sosa equalized in the 63rd minute but Gimnasia was unable to force the winner that would have brought the team its first title since 1929.


Boca Juniors, whose failure to win the title led to Diego Maradona announcing that he would quit the club after less than one year, drew 1-1 away to Deportivo Espanol and finished fifth.