It was far from a performance to suggest that Lanús have turned a corner but victory in La Fortaleza two weeks ago proved enough to survive defeat to Sporting Cristal in Lima and progress to the next round of the Copa Sudamericana.
With a two-goal lead from the first leg, even allowing for Lanús’ poor form, Ezequiel Carboni’s side were favourites to advance and although El Granate did book their place in round two, Sporting Cristal will feel like they deserved a little more.
Emanuel Herrera slotting in an early penalty immediately reduced Lanús’ lead and with Lautaro Acosta on the bench, only an effort by Tomás Belmonte that forced a save from Patricio Alvarez, gave the impression that the visitors could ease the pressure.
That pattern continued after the break, barring Gonzalo Di Renzo wasting a good opportunity, but with time almost up and Sporting Cristal looking the more likely scorers, a Lanús corner was headed in by Rolando García Guerreño to end the Peruvians hopes.
A superb strike from the edge of the box by Horacio Calcaterra did re-establish Sporting’s lead in stoppage time but there wasn’t time to force another and Lanús escaped Lima with a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Despite reaching the Copa Libertadores final only a few months ago, Lanús look a long way from contenders in this year’s Sudamericana.