Neither side are likely to win any prizes for their defending but Lanús managed to overcome Peruvian club Sporting Cristal in La Fortaleza on Wednesday to take a 4-2 first leg lead in the Copa Sudamericana.
The visitors struggled to contain the impressive Lautaro Acosta all evening and so it was little surprise when after quarter of an hour the Lanús figurehead drove down the left and squared for Bruno Vides to slide in the opening goal.
Lanús’ vulnerabilities since losing many key members of last year’s Copa Libertadores finalist side have been clear and within five minutes, Sporting Cristal were level. Countless opportunities to clear were missed and after Esteban Andrada scuffed his attempt, the defence were caught napping until Emanuel Herrera eventually found the bottom corner.
Acosta restored the lead, chipping in after a threaded pass by Gastón Lodico and minutes later when Acosta was tripped in the box, Alejandro Silva made it three.
Two goals ahead and with Acosta causing problems every time he received the ball, Lanús looked in control but a clumsy challenge by Iván Marcone allowed Herrera to pull one back from the penalty spot after 52 minutes.
A 3-2 win ahead of a second leg in Lima wouldn’t have been the result Lanús wanted and it could have been worse had Gabriel Costa’s free kick ended in the net rather than rebounding off the post. However, five minutes from time Gonzalo Di Renzo headed in at a corner to reestablish the two-goal lead and El Granate will now be favourites to progress.