Champions Lanús bounced back from their Copa Sudamericana defeat in midweek to record an opening weekend victory over Boca Juniors in La Fortaleza thanks to Lautaro Acosta’s 67th minute winner. Both sides were far from their best and there was little between them but while Jorge Almirón’s title defence is now up and running, Guillermo Barros Schelotto finds himself under increasing pressure to get this expensively assembled Boca side playing.
In what was an open, if a little ragged, clash between the two title hopefuls Boca certainly had their chances but Lanús did just enough to warrant the three points. Brian Montenegro missed a first half penalty after Santiago Vergini had scythed down Acosta and the goal arrived thanks to the Argentina international following in Jose Sand’s effort which had come back off the post.
El Granate were certainly no where near the level that saw them lift the Transición and Boca will perhaps need time for their new additions to settle but Barros Schelotto will need to start getting results fast.
Earlier in the Monumental, River Plate made an impressive start to the season with a dominant 4-1 win over Banfield. Sebastián Druissi headed Marcelo Gallardo’s side ahead within minutes but despite their obvious superiority, the home side were unable to add a second allowing Santiago Silva to nod in an equaliser against the run of play just before half time.
Lucas Alario had a goal chalked off for offside in first half stoppage time but five minutes after the break the 23-year-old hammered River back in front.
Any resistance from Banfield then appeared broken and Andrés D’Alessandro rifled in a third before Gonzalo Martínez punished a woeful attempt to pass the ball out of defence.
There will certainly be sterner tests ahead for Marcelo Gallardo’s side but the early indication is that the almost year long slumber after lifting the Copa Libertadores is over and River will be serious contenders once again.