UPDATE 1-Soccer-Velez win ninth league title with match to spare

Sun Dec 2, 2012 10:26pm GMT

* Velez beat Union 2-0, Lanus lose 1-0 at River

* Open unassailable five-point lead (Adds details, quotes)

By Rex Gowar

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Top-scorer Facundo Ferreyra struck twice to give Velez Sarsfield a 2-0 home win over Union which clinched Argentina's "Inicial" championship on Sunday.

Velez clinched their ninth league title with a match to spare, taking 38 points from 18 matches for an unassailable five-point lead over second-placed Lanus, who lost 1-0 at River Plate.

It was coach Ricardo Gareca's third championship with Velez in three and a half years.

Ferreya scored in the 48th and 84th minutes at the Fortin against bottom team Union, who have gone 22 league games without a victory dating back to last season.

"Chucky" Ferreyra put Velez in front with a header and took his championship tally to 11 with a brilliant second goal, curling the ball left-footed inside the far post from striker partner Lucas Pratto's low right cross.

River, watched from the heaving Monumental stands by new coach Ramon Diaz who takes charge on Monday, scored in the 76th minute when Uruguayan striker Rodrigo Mora headed home midfielder Leonardo Ponzio's feee kick from the right.

"It was a very good farewell for (departed coach Matias Almeyda) and a welcome to his successor," Ponzio told reporters. Almeyda quit during the week and reserve team coach Gustavo Zapata took charge for Sunday's match.

Lanus lost momentum, dropping five points in their last two matches after a run of seven victories, while Belgrano beat Tigre 1-0 at home in Cordoba to climb to equal second on 33 points.

The season is divided into two championships, the Inicial and the Final which kicks off in February after the summer recess, with the two winners meeting in a grand final in June unless the same team win both.

In previous seasons there were also two championships, Apertura and Clausura, but no overall winner. (Editing by Ed Osmond)