La Pulga gives Atlético Tucumán first leg lead over Independiente in Copa Sudamericana (VIDEO)

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Independiente’s preparations for their Copa Sudamericana last 16 clash against Atlético Tucumán were dealt a blow with the news that Emiliano Rigoni was finally leaving for Zenit St Petersburg and Ariel Holan will have cause for concern after watching his side limp to a 1-0 defeat on Tuesday evening.

Youngster Gastón Togni replacing Rigoni aside it was a familiar looking Independiente eleven against an Atlético Tucumán side under new management and several new signings. However, it was the home side who appeared the more cohesive unit and were almost a constant threat throughout the first half.

A rare El Rojo attack almost brought a goal moments before half time with Togni hitting the underside of the bar but within minutes it was Atlético who led. Intricate passing into the channel between Nicolás Tagliafico and Fernando Amorebieta allowed the ball to be cut back and Luis Rodríguez tapped in a deserved opener.

Independiente saw more of the ball after the break but never really looked like finding a way past Cristian Lucchetti and in fact, El Decano could have extended their lead.

With only a goal difference, there is still plenty to play for in three weeks but Independiente, for whom this competition is another opportunity to achieve Copa Libertadores qualification, huge improvements are needed.

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