Vélez Sarsfield against Estudiantes didn’t perhaps promise a great deal but the Superliga is unlikely to see a more entertaining match this weekend as Gabriel Heinze’s ten-men battled from two-down to lead in Liniers only to be pegged back for a share of the points.
Ahead of an important Copa Libertadores clash next week Estudiantes were expected to rest players on Saturday but it was Vélez caught with their feet up in the opening stages. Mariano Pavone escaping behind a static defence to clip the ball past César Rigamonti and open the scoring against his former club.
The home side had posed a threat but after 37 minutes the game looked as good as over. Peruvian defender Luis Abram was shown a red card for wrestling with Juan Otero when the Colombian was through on goal and from the resulting free-kick Otero found the net.
A man-down and trailing by two, Rodrigo Salinas provided some hope, bundling a goal back before the break and it was the spark needed to inspire Vélez.
Mauro Zárate curled in an exquisite equaliser on the hour mark and five minutes later, the talented Matías Vargas wriggled away from two defenders to thrash the ball past Mariano Andújar.
Vélez were heading for an impressive victory but Facundo Sánchez’s header dragged Estudiantes level.
Neither side will be satisfied with the point in the circumstances but Gabriel Heinze will have been delighted with the response from his side.
Vélez Sarsfield 3 – 3 Estudiantes
In Rosario, Omar de Felippe secured his second victory as Newell’s Old Boys manager as La Lepra saw off the challenge of Tigre.
Newell’s were a dealt an early blow when Brian Sarmiento was stretchered off with what appears to be a serious knee injury during a period of Tigre superiority. However, it was the home side that led after half an hour, Héctor Fertoli stabbing in from close range.
Luis Leal powered in behind to add a second just before half time and although a clumsy José San Román own-goal reduced the lead on the hour mark, Newell’s held on for a valuable three points.