The champions-elect against a side destined for relegation ultimately provided the result that was expected but Boca Juniors were made to work hard for their 1-0 win over Temperley and only picked up all three points thanks to a huge slice of luck.
Despite being rooted in the drop zone, Temperley showed far more ambition that many in La Bombonera and were it not for Frank Fabra’s mis-hit cross that sailed over Josué Ayala and in off the far post after 60 minutes, El Gasolero would have left with an unexpected point.
Both sides had created chances with Walter Bou going close, Nahitan Nández having a goal chalked off for a narrow offside against Bou in the build-up and Ramiro Costa stinging the palms of Agustín Rossi at the other end.
Temperley had given as good as they got and even after going behind showed no signs of giving up. A second goal would have ended the contest but Ramón Abila hit the woodwork and Carlos Tevez saw a penalty saved. Temperley will feel that Ayala’s smart stop was justice in this respect after Tevez had bought the decision with a tumble.
Boca are far from their best and clearly lack Fernando Gago, Pablo Pérez and Darío Benedetto but the victory puts Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side seven points clear and it will take a tremendous effort from elsewhere to deny the Xeneizes from defending their crown.
Boca Juniors 1 – 0 Temperley
While Boca Juniors might be grinding out wins when not playing particularly well, River Plate are in the midst of the worst spell under manager Marcelo Gallardo.
The club handed Gallardo a new deal during the break that runs until 2021 during a summer of investment but so far performances have been no better and the loss to Lanús on Sunday was the seventh in the last nine Superliga matches.
Back at La Fortaleza, where Lanús roared back to overturn a three-goal deficit and dump River out of last year’s Copa Libertadores, River were looking to build on last week’s victory over Olimpo but instead slumped back into the same problems evident now for some months.
Despite handing record signing Lucas Pratto his first start, River failed to create much and aside from a glaring Ignacio Scocco miss after Leonardo Ponzio had squared the ball, Gallardo’s side were lacking ideas.
Lanús are also a far inferior side to the one that reached the Copa Libertadores final but that is expected given that manager Ezequiel Carboni has had to replace a number of the club’s established players with academy products. One of the few to have remained, Lautaro Acosta missed the best chance after a mistake by Gonzalo Montiel but then played a key role in the opener. Acosta’s shot was parried by Franco Armani but Alejandro Silva followed it in to tap Lanús ahead after 31 minutes.
Acosta was the main threat for Lanús but even after Marcelo Gallardo introduced Juan Fernando Quintero, Rodrigo Mora and Rafael Santos Borré, River failed to create too many clear opportunities. Mora twice tested Esteban Andrada but there was otherwise little reaction from River.
Without a win since October in the league, victory came as a huge boost for Lanús who are still coming to terms with the inevitable dip while River need to find a solution to their problems fast. Qualification for the 2019 Copa Libertadores is still an achievable eight points away even if the title is long gone but more importantly the 2018 tournament starts soon and River need to be back at somewhere near their best.