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Arsenal stun America in Sudamericana

Argentine club Arsenal's players celebrate their team's second goal against Mexican club America as Jose Castro of America reacts (L) during their Copa Sudamericana soccer match in Mexico City November 30, 2007. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Modest Argentine side Arsenal twice came from behind to beat America 3-2 away in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Friday.

Alejandro Gomez scored twice in nine minutes during the second half, both following poor defending, to stun the Mexicans in the Azteca stadium and leave Arsenal poised to win their first major trophy.

The Copa Sudamericana is the region’s equivalent of Europe’s UEFA Cup.

Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas headed America into a fifth minute lead as the Eagles threatened to over-run the visitors early on.

But defender Anibal Matellan equalised against the run of play when he headed in from a free kick in the 31st minute.

Alejandro Arguello fired America back in front with a 25-metre drive in the 54th minute following a neat lay-off by Cabanas.

Arsenal were level three minutes later when the Mexican defence hesitated, Jose Luis Calderon won possession and found Gomez who scored from the edge of the penalty area.

In the 66th minute, Ricardo Rojas headed an attempted clearance into the path of Gomez, who nipped in to head the ball over Guillermo Ochoa for the winner.

Arsenal finished with 10 men after Carlos Casteglione was sent off in the 79th minute following an off-the-ball incident.