For all the positives since Ariel Holan took over at Independiente and the club’s flawless away record, El Rojo were desperate to celebrate a first victory in Avellaneda under their new coach and on Sunday evening supporters inside the Estadio Libertadores de América were left ecstatic after a 2-0 win over fierce rivals Racing.
Diego Cocca had wisely tried to limit the space behind his defence in an effort to stop Independiente’s pacy attack of Emiliano Rigoni, Martín Benítez and Ezequiel Barco.
While El Rojo saw plenty of the ball, it was Racing who perhaps should have led when Gustavo Bou squandered the only real clear chance of the first half.
After the break the home side increased the pressure and should have been awarded a penalty when Barco has tripped in the box but when it looked as though luck might be against El Rojo, Rigoni provided the breakthrough. The free kick to the right of the penalty area appeared as though it might be a little too wide but the in-form Rigoni curled it inside Agustín Orion’s far post as the stadium erupted.
There was little sign of reaction from Racing, who certainly missed the creativity of Marcos Acuña, and in stoppage time, Maxi Meza skipped between three defenders from the corner flag to cut inside and steer the ball past Orion.
Qualifying for the Copa Libertadores is Independiente’s target and if Holan’s side can start producing these performances in Avellaneda, it would be little surprise if El Rojo managed it.
Over in Paraná, Sarmiento twice came from behind to earn a draw against Patronato but still look a long way from safety.
Iván Furios fired the home side ahead just after half time only for Joaquín Viviani to head an equaliser.
An exquisite back-heeled finish by Fernando Telechea reestablished the lead but five minutes from time Viviani struck again to ensure Fernando Quiroz’s side took a point back to Junín.