It may only be for 24 hours but Boca Juniors took a formidable twelve-point lead at the top of the Superliga after securing a 4-2 win over San Martín in La Bombonera.
There was a hint of offside in the build-up as Carlos Tevez smashed Boca ahead inside three minutes following Luis Ardente’s save from Edwin Cardona and when Cristian Pavón sprinted in behind to round the keeper and double the lead after nine minutes, the game already looked over.
The best defence in the league after conceding just once in the last six games, there didn’t appear to be a way back for San Martín but Alvaro Fernández swiftly headed a goal back as the champions back-line looked uncharacteristically shaky.
Both sides had chances with the impressive Cardona, hitting the post and having a goal harshly ruled out for Boca while .. and .. wasted decent opportunities for the visitors.
Cristian Pavón’s pace provided Boca with breathing space in the 68th minute as the youngster played a neat one-two to race in behind and square the ball for Nahitan Nández to tap in from close range.
Tevez was denied a second by the linesman and when Claudio Spinelli pulled a goal back three minutes from time, San Martín may have spied a surprise point.
That was short lived however, as a long ball upfield found Ramón Abila and completely unmarked the centre forward slotted in a decisive fourth.
Talleres and San Lorenzo both have chances on Monday to close the gap but for now Boca sit top with few genuine rivals.
Boca Juniors 4 – 2 San Martín
Independiente bounced back from the bitter disappointment of their penalty loss in the Recopa on Wednesday evening to record a deserved 1-0 win over Banfield in Avellaneda.
Ariel Holan opted to rest a few of his starting eleven following the gruelling defeat to Grêmio but despite missing a host of chances, El Rojo picked up all three points to climb back into the 2019 Copa Libertadores qualification places, just days before beginning their 2018 campaign.
An even start to the game at the Estadio Libertadores de América saw Pablo Mouche and Leandro Fernández waste clear chances at both ends but the deadlock was eventually broken after 23 minutes. Martín Benítez, who had missed the decisive penalty in Porto Alegre but given a warm reception from supporters, fired the ball low past Mauricio Arboleda from 25 yards.
Virtually from this point on Independiente were dominant and only a mixture of wasteful finishing and inspired goalkeeping by Arboleda denied the home side extending their lead.
Silvio Romero tamely shot at the keeper in the first half, Fernández had a volley cleared off the line and despite Banfield posing a sporadic threat, Independiente had countless chances to finish the game.
Nicolás Figal and Fernández wasted gilt-edged chances and when Juan Manuel Martínez flicked the ball goal wards, Arboleda produced a stunning save.
El Rojo were not made to regret those missed opportunities as Banfield saw Eric Remedi sent off late on for a second yellow card and the home side recorded an important win. Ahead of Thursday’s Libertadores opener against Deportivo Lara, three points were much needed and the performance gave renewed reason for optimism.
Independiente 1 – 0 Banfield
In Santa Fe, a late Guillermo Ortíz own-goal handed Unión an equaliser as the clásico with Colón ended all-square.
A usually fiery affair passed with relatively little incident and it looked as though Javier Correa’s goal shortly before half time would seal the points for Colón. However, Guillermo Ortíz volleyed Damián Martínez’s cross into his own goal to cancel out the opener and ensure that neither side would be celebrating derby victory.
And finally, Chacarita Juniors are looking increasingly likely to be making a swift return to the Nacional B after a narrow defeat to Belgrano in Villa Maipú.
A fairly even game was won when Chacarita failed to clear a Belgrano corner a minute after half time and the ball eventually bobbled to Federico Lértora to slot into the bottom corner. El Pirata’s fine form this season sees them up in eighth but perhaps more importantly further away from the relegation zone as Chacarita still sit rock bottom.
Unión 1 – 1 Colón
Chacarita Juniors 0 – 1 Belgrano