San Lorenzo produced a superb performance to defeat River Plate in the Nuevo Gasómetro and join Godoy Cruz at the top of Zone One with two matches remaining. Nicolás Blandi scored twice either side of half time to confirm the home side’s superiority and although River had chances and did manage a late consolation through Lucas Alario, it was a deserved victory for Pablo Guede’s title challengers.
Having seen Godoy Cruz win on Friday night, San Lorenzo found themselves in a must-win situation and started brightly against River. Twice in the opening four minutes, the home side got in behind River’s defence and almost took advantage and although they were denied it did prove to be an indicator of how the game would progress.
River came close to opening the scoring after Sebastián Torrico’s error in clearing the ball allowed Nacho Fernández an opportunity from range, but the midfielder’s shot cannoned off the post and from there Los Cuervos took control.
After wasting a couple of glorious chances, San Lorenzo finally took the lead in the 37th minute when a precise passing move cut open River and Sebastián Blanco squared for a completely unmarked Nicolás Blandi to slot the ball past Marcelo Barovero.
The home side were well worth the the one-goal advantage and it took only seven minutes of the second half to double that lead. Another wonderful passage of play resulted in Blandi passing the ball beyond Barovero but it was the pass from Fernando Belluschi and the awareness of Sebastián Blanco to allow the ball to roll through to Blandi that left River chasing shadows.
Lucas Alario pulled a goal back in injury time but it couldn’t change the outcome of the game. San Lorenzo continue to improve and after joining Godoy Cruz on 30 points, few would bet against El Ciclón lifting the Transición title.
In Zone Two, Lanús edged ever closer to the title after second placed Estudiantes could manage only a goalless draw with Racing in Avellaneda. Both sides fashioned chances but it was perhaps the home side that will feel that they should have taken all the points.
After being denied a penalty in the first half when Leonardo Gil handled in the box, Diego Milito and Marcos Acuña both struck the woodwork during a second half in which Racing increased the pressure.
Estudiantes had Carlos Auzqui sent off late on but were able to cling on for a point. Lanús will lift the title with a draw on Sunday but El Pincha must still ensure that they guarantee Copa Libertadores qualification.
San Lorenzo 2 – 1 River Plate
Racing Club 0 – 0 Estudiantes