Atlético Tucumán’s most unlikely of Copa Libertadores bids took a step closer on Friday evening after a 3-2 win over San Martín saw El Decano leapfrog Estudiantes into second place in Zone Two. A last gasp winner once again kept the dream alive as Leandro González’s scrappy 90th minute goal ensured the three points that will put the pressure now on El Pincha.
Luis Ardente had given the visitors a first half lead from the penalty spot but just when nerves were beginning to fray with a little over fifteen minutes remaining Cristian Menéndez struck an equaliser. A minute later and Guillermo Acosta poked El Decano ahead sparking wild celebrations but they were cut short by Sergio Sagarzazu’s curling free kick in the 87th minute. Only a point would have been a blow to Atlético’s Copa Libertadores hopes but as the game ticked into injury time, the ball bobbled around the San Martín six-yard box before being forced over the line by González. With a game remaining, Atlético sit two points better off than Estudiantes and so will be watching El Pincha’s game in hand against Boca Juniors on Sunday night with great interest.
In Florencio Varela, Racing’s disappointing first half to 2016 continued with a 2-1 defeat to Defensa y Justicia. On loan River youngster Tomás Martínez proved to be the catalyst for La Academia’s latest defeat but Diego Milito was left fuming by Saúl Laverni denying Racing a stoppage time penalty.
Martínez put El Halcón in front shortly after half time with a wonderfully struck shot from outside the box and when the 21-year-old twisted and turned to win the home side a penalty the result looked beyond doubt. Fabián Bordagaray dispacted the spot kick and Facundo Sava with Milito, Lisandro López, Oscar Romero and Gustavo Bou on the pitch looked to salvage something.
La Academia swiftly pulled one back when Romero produced what is rapidly becoming a trademark lofted ball from deep to find Gustavo Bou and the striker lobbed Gabrial Arias expertly. The visitors pushed for an equaliser and thought they should have had a chance when a handball went unpunished by Laverni in the 92nd minute but the second never came.
In Parque Patricios, Unión claimed a decent point away to Huracán thanks to Claudio Riaño’s smart finish in first half stoppage time. Cristian Espinoza had put El Globo ahead with a deflected strike but Unión went in at the break level. Despite the home side seeing more of the ball and creating the better chances, the visitors held on for the draw.
Huracán 1 – 1 Unión
Atlético Tucumán 3 – 2 San Martín
Defensa y Justicia 2 – 1 Racing Club