Estudiantes had been on a 21-match unbeaten streak and after the opening ten rounds dropped only four points but Nelson Vivas’ title hopefuls have ended the year with one point from their final four matches after Defensa y Justicia came from behind to record an impressive win in La Plata.
Sebastián Beccacece has breathed a new lease of life into Defensa y Justicia after El Halcón had looked in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle but when Lucas Viatri broke the deadlock to give Estudiantes the lead from the penalty spot after an hour, it looked as though El Pincha would be heading back to the top of the table.
However, Leonel Miranda volleyed the visitors level almost instantly as Estudiantes failed to get the ball clear and fifteen minutes later took the lead when Mariano Bareiro leapt unmarked to head in Juan Kaprof’s free kick.
Defensa y Justicia held on for a third straight win while Estudiantes must now regroup over the break in an attempt to find their formidable early season form.
In Junín, Jorge Burruchaga was aiming to continue Sarmiento’s fine run of form and make a further push towards safety but his side came surprisingly unstuck by an Aldosivi, who had won just once all season. Alan Alegre headed the visitors ahead midway through the first half and Neri Bandieri tapped in a second just after the hour mark. El Tiburón were desperately in need of a result to ease their own concerns over relegation while Sarmiento have a huge amount of work to do in the new year.