Independiente’s stuttering start to 2018 continued on Monday evening as Ariel Holan’s side suffered a first Superliga defeat since September after goalkeeper Martín Campaña’s second half blundered gifted Estudiantes victory in Avellaneda.
El Rojo look well short of the level that saw them lift the Copa Sudmericana in December and aside from the sales of Nicolás Tagliafico and Ezequiel Barco, the club have been slow to conclude transfer business and been hit with defensive injuries leaving Holan undoubtedly weaker at this early stage of the year.
Despite this Independiente took the lead against Estudiantes shortly after half time thanks to a moment of genuine quality in what was an otherwise error-strewn performance. Leandro Fernández switched the ball to Ezequiel Barco and his accurate cross was headed past Mariano Andújar by Emmanuel Gigliotti.
However, the lead didn’t last long and after Holan had been forced into changes by first half injury and tactical reshuffles, a gap at left-back was exposed leaving Iván Gómez to head past Martín Campaña completely unmarked.
With the game in the balance, Estudiantes were charitably given a second when Campaña passed the ball directly to the lively Juan Otero, leaving the Colombian to clip the ball into the net. Independiente tried to force an equaliser but with few real game changers on the bench, Estudiantes held on for an excellent away victory.
Earlier, Atlético Tucumán ensured that Temperley’s survival hopes remain as bleak as ever with a 3-0 victory in the Estadio Monumental José Fierro.
Mauricio Affonso raced clear after only three points to give El Decano the lead and when Yonathan Cabral headed a second after 23 minutes it was difficult to see low-scoring Temperley getting anything.
The visitors did threaten but David Barbona all but sealed victory in the 56th minute as he finished off a swift counter with a powerful shot from the edge of the box. Temperley remain stranded in the relegation zone and will need an incredible second half of the season if they are to escape the drop.
And finally in La Plata, Facundo Sava made a winning start as Gimnasia manager after his side did just enough to see off the challenge of Rosario Central.
A lightning quick start saw Ezequiel Bonifacio tap the home side ahead in under a minute and when Nicolás Colazo volleyed a second from a corner, Gimnasia looked to be cruising.
However, Germán Herrera swiftly pulled a goal back and Gimnasia needed to ride their luck to avoid their lead slipping. Fernando Zampedri headed against the woodwork either side of half time but Central couldn’t find the net.