Even in the middle of a terrible run of form, a home fixture against relegation bound Chacarita Juniors was supposed to provide River Plate with an opportunity to pick up what would have been only a third win in fifteen Superliga fixtures. However, Los Funebreros had other ideas and managed to frustrate Marcelo Gallardo’s under performing side and claim a 1-1 draw in El Monumental.
River had their visitors on the back foot from kick off as expected and probably should have had a penalty within the opening two minutes when Ignacio Scocco was tripped by goalkeeper Pedro Fernández but were instead made to wait until shortly before the break. Nicolás de la Cruz dashed in behind and was bundled over by Hernán Petryk prompting referee Hernán Mastrángelo to point to the spot.
Scocco made no mistake but instead of heading back to the locker room boosted by the lead, River allowed Chacarita to immediately draw level, Nahuel Menéndez bundling his way through to fire past Franco Armani.
It could have been worse for River had Matías Rodríguez not managed to miss an open from a couple of yards out shortly after the restart and while Ignacio Fernández and Camilo Mayada both hit the woodwork, River’s lack of creativity and ideas in the final third was again clear.
Since the end of October only Lanús have picked up less points than River and sitting down in 21st, eight points off the last Copa Sudamericana spot and eleven away from the Copa Libertadores places, Los Millonarios hopes of qualifying for continental competition in 2019 via the league are looking slim.
River Plate 1 – 1 Chacarita Juniors
While River are floundering, Racing Club continue to ride the crest of a wave and managed to grind out a fifth consecutive Superliga victory against Vélez Sarsfield at the Cilindro.
With Jorge Sampaoli once more in attendance it took striker Lautaro Martínez five minutes to notch yet another goal as Vélez foolishly opted to leave the 20-year-old unmarked to head in from a corner, his eleventh in ten games.
This Racing side will always allow chances and goalkeeper Juan Musso needed to be in top form to preserve the lead until half time. However, the 23-year-old could do nothing as Mauro Zárate headed Vélez level shortly before the hour mark.
Minutes later and Racing captain Lisandro López was shown a red card for a kick at Hernán de la Fuente with the Vélez full-back harshly joining him.
Ten against ten and the in-form Ricardo Centurión re-established Racing’s lead with a thumping header before Vélez’s Braian Cufré was shown a red and Racing’s Leonardo Sigali made it two apiece. Neither were deserved as Patricio Loustau, chosen to referee the upcoming superclasico, lost control in the closing stages.
The four red cards may have provided the talking points but Racing’s resurgence continues thanks to the talents of Martínez and Centurión goes from strength to strength.
Racing Club 2 – 1 Vélez Sarsfield
Earlier on Sunday, Banfield managed to see off the challenge of Newell’s Old Boys thanks to Darío Cvitanich’s first half goal but were made to work hard after Enzo Kalinski’s red card early shortly after the break.
Omar de Felippe was watching from the stands but after watching Newell’s struggle to break down ten-man Banfield, the new manager will know just how difficult his job in Rosario will be.
And in Tucumán, Defensa y Justicia scored an impressive 1-0 win on the road as Ciro Rius tapped in the only goal of the game.
Atlético were honouring club icon Luis Rodríguez but unable to find an opener, the visitors spoiled the party 20 minutes from time as Augusto Batalla kept out Fernando Márquez’s iniital shot only for Horacio Tijanovich to roll the rebound into the path of Rius for a simple tap-in.