Lanús moved closer to the Zone Two title with a 2-0 win over Banfield to complete a double in the clásico del Sur, just two weeks after winning in their rivals own backyard. An incident packed game swung in favour of the home side thanks to Víctor Ayala’s spectacular long range strike and with games running out, Jorge Almirón’s side’s ability to find a way to win has them on the verge of next year’s Copa Libertadores and a spot in the Transición final.
Banfield were well beaten two weeks ago but were handed a wonderful opportunity for revenge on Saturday night after Lanús had Iván Marcone sent off with 17 minutes on the clock. Despite the numerical disadvantage, the home side remained the better side and should have taken the lead before half time when José Luis Gómez charged into the penalty area and was bundled over between Jorge Rodríguez and Alexís Soto. The Primera’s leading scorer, Jose Sand stepped up having already scored four times from the penalty spot this season but Hilario Navarro guessed correctly and palmed the ball away.
On the hour mark, Banfield conceded their advantage when Walter Erviti was shown a second yellow card for a handball and from the resulting free kick, Lanús led. Tapped short to Ayala about 40 yards out there didn’t appear too much danger but the Paraguayan produced an unstoppable, swerving drive that left Navarro rooted to the spot as the ball whistled past him and into the top corner.
With Banfield chasing the game, Lanús killed it off deep into stoppage time when Miguel Almirón broke unchallenged from half way before lobbing Navarro at full pace.
With four games remaining, Lanús are now five points clear of Estudiantes in second. With a relatively straight forward set of fixtures, it is difficult to see El Granate not winning Zone Two and taking their deserved place in the Transición final.
Lanús 2 – 0 Banfield