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Lugano stay top as Xamax bottom out

Lugano's Christian Giminez celebrates his goal against Grasshoppers

(Keystone)

Lugano football club have maintained their one point lead at the top of the Swiss league with a 2-0 home win over Grasshoppers. Elsewhere Neuchatel Xamax were consigned to the relegation round following a 2-0 defeat in Aarau.

Two goals in two minutes were enough to secure Lugano's 11th win of the season. A penalty converted by Sergio Bastida in the 14th minute was followed by a 15th minute strike from another Argentinian, Christian Giminez.

The reigning champions St Gallen enjoyed a 4-0 win over Basel to stay within a point of Lugano. Marcel Koller's side took the lead through Jerron Nixon ten minutes before the break.

Sascha Müller then doubled St Gallen's lead with a well-taken free kick on the stroke of half time.

Last season's league top scorer, Charles Amoah, put the home side 3-0 up midway through the second half, rising unmarked to head past Miroslav König in the Basel goal. With quarter of an hour remaining St Gallen completed the rout, Amoah putting Nixon through for his second goal of the night.

At the other end of the table Aarau beat Neuchatel Xamax 2-0, a result which boosted Aarau's chances of avoiding the drop but guaranteed a New Year relegation struggle for Xamax.

Brazilian striker Didi and midfielder André Wiederkehr scored the important goals for Aarau. Xamax, who have failed to win a single point away from home this season, also suffered from having two defenders sent off in the second half.

FC Zürich still have a little work to do if they're to avoid a second successive drop into the relegation round. On Sunday their three-match winning streak came to an end with a 3-1 home defeat against Sion.

The visitors went ahead with a first half goal from Marcel Enilton, but Gilbert Gress's side appeared to be heading for at least a draw when Mikhail Kavelaschvili equalised with just quarter of an hour to go.

Sion regained the lead just five minutes later, though, with a goal from Stéphane Sarni, before Hervé Tum completed the scoreline in injury time.

With just three rounds remaining it will soon be clear which three sides will be joining Neuchatel Xamax in next year's relegation and promotion playoffs.

Lucerne and Yverdon look likely to be two of the teams involved. Both sides must win all three of their remaining games to have any chance of avoiding the drop.

swissinfo with agencies

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