A defeat for Independiente in the Estadio Libertadores de América against Lanús would have ended any hopes of winning the championship but Jorge Almirón’s side produced an exciting and typically open performance to blow away rivals Lanús and ensure that El Rojo stay the course with River and Racing.
It didn’t look promising for Independiente when Lanús needed just two minutes to take the lead. The pace of Lautaro Acosta was too much for Almirón’s makeshift defence and after bursting clear he squared the ball for Silvio Romero to tap the visitors in front. Over the next 15 minutes, Lanús continued to threaten with probing balls behind the full backs always looking to release the dynamic attack of Schelotto’s side.
However, Independiente have come from behind more than any other side in the Primera and once again this resolve was evident as they dragged themselves level just before the half hour mark. A neat passing move was worked out onto the left and Francisco Pizzini’s cross was met by the diving head of Sebastián Penco.
Just over five minutes later, Independiente led after Matías Pisano had called Agustín Marchesín into action with a superb curling effort and as the Lanús defence failed to clear, the ball eventually found Daniel Montenegro and he rifled the ball past Marchesín.
After the break both sides had chances, with Independiente and Penco in particular wasting a number of good opportunities and Diego González at the other end volleying wide Lanús’ most presentable opening.
With time running out, Lanús had already lost all shape and then they lost discipline as they had Facundo Monteseirín and Maxi Velázquez sent off within five minutes. With the numerical advantage, Independiente ran riot and a superb passing move cut through the remnants of the Lanús defence and left Juan Martín Lucero with a simple tap in.
Two minutes into stoppage time, the victory was wrapped up when Víctor Cuesta headed in Pisano’s free kick and ended a miserable evening in Avellaneda for Guillermo Barros Schelotto and his side.
Independiente join Lanús on 30 points, three behind River Plate with three rounds remaining. With River facing second placed Racing on Sunday, both sides will have the chance to go level ahead of this huge title decider, although Independiente have a tricky tie against Boca in La Bombonera and Lanús need to bounce back against Gimnasia.