The goal at the start of the season was survival but Argentinos Juniors remain not only in the 2019 Copa Sudamericana places but still in the hunt for Copa Libertadores football after a victory over Unión on Friday evening.
The 3-1 scoreline may suggest that Los Bichos were comfortable in chalking up another three points but Unión will feel aggrieved by referee Nicolás Lamolina’s controversial decision to award what proved to be a decisive penalty.
Lucas Gamba had given Unión the lead tapping in from close range after 18 minutes but the home side responded well and managed to turn the tables before the break.
Jonathan Sandoval rose to head an equaliser and in first half stoppage time, Lamolina pointed to the spot when Leonardo Pisculichi tumbled in the area, despite there being minimal contact with Damián Martínez. Lucas Barrios stepped up and although Nereo Fernández got a hand to his spot kick, the goalkeeper couldn’t keep it out.
Unión pushed for a second after the break but Los Bichos managed to scramble the ball clear.
Frustration got the better of Unión defender Yeimar Andrade Gómez and he saw red for a stupid punch thrown in the direction of Damián Batallini. However, the numerical advantage lasted only ten minutes before Sandoval was shown a second yellow and with ten against ten, Barrios slotted in another injury time penalty.
Argentinos Juniors leapfrog Unión in the Sudamericana places but are now level on points with Independiente and Racing, currently occupying the final Libertadores spot.
Argentinos Juniors 3 – 1 Unión
Earlier in Victoria, Tigre claimed a first win in seven and in the process inflicted a fourth straight defeat on Gimnasia as the teams currently sitting in the relegation zone saw a miraculous escape drift even further away.
Jacobo Mansilla bundled in what could be the ugliest goal of the season to break the deadlock and when Gimnasia saw Eric Ramírez sent off minutes into the second half, the visitors’ chances all but disappeared.
Tigre came close to a second on a number of occasions but seven minutes from time, Diego Morales wrapped up the points.
Tigre’s win, if Vélez and Patronato also pick up points, could see one or more of the sides in the relegation zone have their place in the Nacional B with Arsenal guaranteed.
Tigre 2 – 0 Gimnasia