Godoy Cruz maintain challenge with victory over Arsenal, River are held by ten-man Vélez and Quilmes claim draw with Belgrano (VIDEO)


Godoy Cruz took a huge step towards the 2017 Copa Libertadores and possibly the Torneo Transición title with a 2-0 win over Arsenal in Mendoza. After a goalless first half, Jaime Ayoví slalomed his way through the visitor’s defence two minutes after the break before burying the ball past Fernando Pellegrino. It was the Ecuadorian striker’s sixth goal of the season and his potent partnership with Santiago García is one of the key factors behind El Tomba maintaining their surprising title challenge. Arsenal were unable to find an equaliser and in injury time, Godoy Cruz broke through Ayoví before Fernando Zuqui added a second. The result puts Sebastián Mendez’s side top of Zone One with three winable matches to play in theory.

Marcelo Gallardo understandably fielded a River Plate eleven made up of reserve players and academy products for the visit of Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday afternoon given their vital Copa Libertadores clash this week. Despite this rotation River should have had few problems with the visitors given Fausto Grillo was sent off after half an hour for a second yellow card. With their man advantage, the home side were dominant but after Lucho González managed to miss from two yards out and both debutant Tomás Andrade and Leandro Vega hit the post it was clearly not River’s day. Vélez held on for a point but for River, the Transición couldn’t end soon enough. Gallardo’s side must focus on retaining the Libertadores and that continues on Wednesday when they must overturn their first leg defeat to Independiente del Valle.

In Córdoba, Quilmes came from behind twice to claim a draw against Belgrano thanks in large part to the performance of goalkeeper Juan Carlos Olave. Claudio Bieler scored both goals against his former club to put the home side in front either side of half time but on each occasion, Quilmes struck back. The first, a long throw into the penalty area caused panic and Olave’s failed attempt to clear the ball left Daniel Imperiale with a simple header. Belgrano had retaken the lead but when Brian Mansilla ran clear his initial shot was weakly stopped by Olave and allowed the Quilmes substitute to tap in a second.

Belgrano  2 – 2  Quilmes

River Plate  0 – 0  Vélez Sarsfield

Godoy Cruz  2 – 0  Arsenal de Sarandí

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