The title race might be over but the battle for 2019 Copa Libertadores qualification is still very much on and San Lorenzo took a big step towards securing their place with victory over Independiente in Avellaneda.
Independiente were left angered by referee Patricio Loustau after seeing three penalty appeals for handball waved away and manager Ariel Holan likened San Lorenzo’s approach to rugby given the number of fouls committed against his side side.
But in truth, El Rojo failed to create too many clear chances for all of their possession and badly missed the injured Maxi Meza.
San Lorenzo managed to win the game after quarter of an hour, Nahuel Barrios spotting the run of Paulo Díaz and the full-back’s cut-back finding Rubén Botta, who swivelled superbly onto his favoured left-foot to fire into the roof of the net.
From here, Claudio Biaggio’s side were happy to invite Independiente on and look to play on the counter.
The Superliga’s best defence, marshalled by the impressive Matías Caruzzo and Fabricio Coloccini soaked up everything that El Rojo threw at them and aside from the penalty claims and a couple of Gastón Silva free-kicks, goalkeeper Nicolás Navarro had little to do in keeping the home side out.
Despite San Lorenzo racking up the fouls, Independiente saw Fabricio Bustos sent off with fifteen minutes remaining for a second yellow card and with it any hopes of a dramatic late equaliser seemed to disappear.
The result sends San Lorenzo second, eight points behind Boca, while Independiente sit just below Racing Club on goal difference, outside the Libertadores spots with six matches remaining.