Referee Fernando Espinoza was the protagonist in Independiente’s draw with Tigre and perhaps both sets of players will be unhappy with his performance after the official failed to send off two Tigre players in the first half but then awarded a questionable penalty to El Rojo.
Gabi Milito is quickly finding out how difficult playing twice a week can be after his side’s midweek exploits in the Copa Sudamericana. A below-par Independiente went behind to Tigre after 18 minutes when Carlos Luna turned in a rebound after Martín Campaña kept out Sebastián Rincón’s initial effort but Espinoza’s performance over the remainder of the first half proved decisive.
Tigre full-back Martín Galmarini should have been the first to go when he clearly halted an Independiente attack with a deliberate hand ball when already on a yellow card and when Espinoza also allowed Carlos Luna to stay on the pitch for a late challenge on Nicolás Tagliafico, there was a sense that perhaps he was looking for a way to find a way to balance things.
The opportunity came on the stroke of half time when Maxi Meza ran clear, clipped the ball over goalkeeper Nelson Ibáñez and tumbled under the slightest of contact. It was a soft decision but was the break that El Rojo needed and Víctor Cuesta made no mistake from the spot.
The visitors posed a threat on the break but Independiente will feel that they had the chances in the second half to take all three points. Another draw and now focus shifts immediately to Wednesday’s Sudamericana clash with Chapecoense.
In Parque Patricios, Huracán were unable to earn a first win of the season despite having the better of Sarmiento. Replacing Ramón Ábila was always going to be difficult but in the absence of a regular goal scorer at present El Globo drew a third consecutive game and allowed Sarmiento to leave the Estadio Tomás Ducó with a point.