River Plate have gradually reeled in Boca Juniors over the past few weeks and despite missing a chance last weekend with a goalless draw against Rosario Central, Sunday was the big one. A visit to San Lorenzo’s Nuevo Gasómetro always looked like the biggest test of Los Millonarios run-in and so it proved as Los Cuervos punished a slightly unfortunate River, handing the title initiative to the blue and gold side of Buenos Aires in the process.
Nicolás Blandi’s instinctive volley had put San Lorenzo ahead after 13 minutes but River responded immediately through a Sebastián Driussi penalty after Marcos Angeleri blocked Pity Martínez’s drilled effort with an arm.
River, already without the suspended Lucas Alario, were soon denied the services of leading scorer Driussi after the youngster was stretchered off and without the prolific pair, Marcelo Gallardo’s attack was severely blunted.
Ten minutes after the break, San Lorenzo retook the lead after Fernando Belluschi teased the River midfield into a foul with a double nut-meg on Fernández and Ponzio and from the resulting free-kick caused panic. Augusto Batalla made a mess of claiming the ball and Paulo Diaz bundled it over the line.
River had chances but where Alario or Driussi would’ve made it count, Augusto Solari blazed over. Gallardo’s side will obviously fight until the end but this weekend may have seen the title slip away.
River’s closest other competition comes in the surprising form of Banfield, who maintained their fine form with a sixth win from seven, in La Plata.
Renato Civelli poked the visitors ahead after Brian Sarmiento’s free-kick had come back off the post and although Mauricio Romero headed an equaliser, Darío Cvitanich nodded a close-range winner to fire El Taladro further up the table.
Julio César Falcioni may not quite be able to mastermind another title triumph this season but a return to the Copa Libertadores is looking likely.