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Lugano still top as post-break battle takes shape

Lugano players celebrate a goal against Servette, but the weekend was miserable for Aarau and Yverdon


The weekend's football action left leaders Lugano still on top. But as the league moves a step closer to its winter break, the outlines of the relegation dogfight to come have also been drawn.

Defeats for both Aarau and Yverdon mean they will join Lucerne and Xamax in the New Year's struggle to survive.

Yverdon had the worst of it, suffering a 7-0 humiliation at the hands of reigning champions Saint Gallen. But Aarau's less-painful 3-1 defeat by Grasshoppers had the same consequences.

With 20 and 23 points respectively, neither team will be able to muster enough in their final match next week to haul themselves out of the four-team relegation/promotion zone of the first division. Appropriately enough, they face each other in their last match.

Inveterate stragglers Neuchatel Xamax are already down, with just 17 points, and continued their run of what the most charitable would call bad luck, losing 2-0 to Lausanne. Lucerne lost 3-0 to Sion, in a match that condemned the former and threw a lifeline to the latter.

The rules of Swiss football are such that the four A league losers will face the B league's top-placed four sides. Young Boys Bern, Wil, Winterthur and Bellinzona are the lucky teams eyeing promotion and hoping their A-league opponents will continue the downward spiral and fail to make it back into the top flight next season.

But the weekend's A-league action was not all doom and gloom. Zurich made sure of their place in the New Year's title fight with a 2-0 defeat of Basel.

The win gave them 28 points, enough to pull clear of Aarau and the relegation zone.

At the top end of the table, Lugano kept themselves one point ahead of Saint Gallen, beating Servette 1-0, and now stand at 41 points. Saint Gallen's walkover against Yverdon keeps them ahead of third-placed Grasshoppers, who have 36 points.

swissinfo with agencies

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