Gabriel Milito’s debut as Independiente coach ended in bitter disappointment after Andrés Ríos’ second half goal ended El Rojo’s hopes of progressing in the Copa Argentina and their ultimate goal of returning to the Copa Libertadores.
After a goalless first half a momentary lapse of concentration allowed Defensa y Justicia to work the ball to the unmarked Ríos, who made no mistake in thumping the ball past Martín Campaña.
Independiente threw players forward and were boosted by a red card to Ríos following a wild challenge on 17-year-old Ezequiel Barco, but despite wave after wave of attack, El Rojo could not find a way through.
Milito still has plenty of work to do with the squad and after this latest set-back, the upcoming Copa Sudamericana provides the only remaining route available to the 2017 Copa Libertadores.
Defensa y Justicia 1 – 0 Independiente