River Plate’s title challenge may have ended a couple of weeks ago in reality but there was no hiding Marcelo Gallardo’s annoyance as his side slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Racing in the Monumental, mathematically ending any hopes of catching Boca.
Racing’s opener had more than a touch of luck to it as Lucas Martínez Quarta’s clearance rocketed back off Lautaro Martínez and into the net but there was no denying that River’s performance was well below the standard they themselves have set in 2017.
Despite the visitors losing Lisandro López to injury shortly after it didn’t prevent Miguel Barbieri heading a second shortly after half time. Marcos Acuña skipped around a stranded Augusto Batalla to make it three and although late goals by Marcelo Larrondo and Jonatan Maidana reduced to deficit to make things a little nervy for Racing, Diego Cocca’s side held on for all three points.
River’s 2018 Copa Libertadores qualification still looks safe but Gallardo admitted the club need to make signings while with the win Racing are right in the middle of the pack chasing that top five.
A little earlier in Florencio Varela, Defensa y Justicia convincingly defeated Atlético Tucumán to climb into the Sudamericana qualification spots. The impressive Alexander Barboza headed his fifth of the season to give the home side the lead, emphasizing how much of a miss he will be when he returns to River at the end of the season, and Nicolás Stefanelli dashed clear to score twice within five minutes to wrap up the win.