There is little that José Sand could do to further endear himself to the Lanús supporters but on Sunday afternoon, his hat-trick earned El Granate the bragging rights with a 4-2 victory over Banfield in the Clásico del Sur.
Jorge Almirón’s champions looked something like their old selves following three straight defeats but were also indebted to Banfield defender Jorge Rodríguez, who endured a nightmarish afternoon.
The 21-year-old rashly brought down Lautaro Acosta with just three minutes on the clock for Sand to hammer home his first from the penalty spot and although Gonzalo Bettini equaliser from close range, Rodríguez swung the clásico in favour of the home side shortly after half time.
A foolish shove on Sand as he lined up a shot, gifted Lanús a second penalty and also saw the youngster sent off. Pepe duly converted before conceding one at the other end for handball which Brian Sarmiento tucked away to make it 2-2.
Could the ten men of Banfield hang on for a point? No, Marcelo Herrera tapped in from close range and with two minutes remaining Sand completed the simplest of hat-tricks.
In Junín, Sarmiento may not be able to save themselves from relegation but Gervasio Núñez is establishing himself as the most dangerous free kick taker in the Primera. The former Central forward scored two wonderful goals in El Verde’s 2-2 draw with his former club.
Núñez had already put the home side ahead when Teo Gutiérrez teed up Federico Carrizo to slot in his first since signing for the club and when Fabián Bordagaray raced clear to expertly finish past Julio Chiarini, it appeared as though it could be a damaging defeat for Sarmiento.
However, Núñez was presented with another opportunity from just outside the box and left Diego Rodríguez rooted to the spot for the second time.
One side that are looking increasingly in trouble near the foot of the descenso are Arsenal and on Sunday afternoon, Humberto Grondona’s side slumped to defeat against Estudiantes in La Plata.
Javier Toledo fired El Pincha ahead early and although Arsenal had their chances, Augusto Solari raced away on the counter midway through the second half to double the lead.