Lanús took a huge step closer to the Zone Two title with a fourth consecutive victory that has opened up a six point lead at the top of the table. The visit of struggling Atlético Rafaela to La Fortaleza was supposed to be a straight-forward three points for Jorge Almirón’s side but La Crema made it a far nervier affair.
Gabriel Graciani’s predatory six-yard box finish had given the visitors a surprise half-time lead and despite dominating possession Lanús were finding it difficult to break down a resolute and determined defence. Eventually the equaliser arrived when Axel Werner, who had been having an excellent game in the Atlético goal, fumbled a free kick and allowed Román Martínez to tap in the rebound.
A draw would still have been two points dropped for El Granate but as the game went into stoppage time, Nelson Benítez was harshly penalised for a handball and José Sand unerringly slotted home the penalty for his 12th goal of the season. With only five games remaining it is becoming increasingly difficult to see any side in Zone Two catching Lanús now.
One potential challenger prior to Saturday was Huracán but having seen Lanús pick up another three points, victory in Rosario against Newell’s Old Boys was vital. La Lepra hadn’t won in seven and Diego Osella was still waiting for a first win as manager since taking over two months ago. However, the home side produced their best performance of the season and 21-year-old Héctor Fertoli’s well taken goal after 72 minutes gave Newell’s a well deserved victory. Osella will be hoping his side can now finish the season strongly while for El Globo it appears their title challenge is over.
Lanús 2 – 1 Atlético Rafaela
Newell’s Old Boys 1 – 0 Huracán