After defeat to River Plate last weekend, Racing Club needed a result to boost their chance of claiming a spot in the 2019 Copa Libertadores and despite Ricardo Centurión’s best efforts it was another narrow loss for La Academia in Florencio Varela.
Defensa y Justicia, making a push of their own for Copa Sudamericana qualification after victory over Boca Juniors in La Bombonera last week, welcomed Racing to the Estadio Norberto Tomaghello in confident mood.
And it showed as El Halcón led after only a minute. Racing youngster Rodrigo Schlegel was caught by surprise by a ball into the penalty area and as the 21-year-old slipped, the in-form Fernando Márquez clipped the ball over Juan Musso.
Eduardo Coudet’s much changed line-up might have been even more defensively fragile but still possessed an incredible attacking threat and so it wasn’t long until Racing were level. Ezequiel Unsain could only parry Lisandro López’s volley and Ricardo Centurión followed it in to tap in the rebound.
Racing’s defence was always likely to give away chances and immediately after half time, Defensa y Justicia reclaimed the lead. This time it was Musso’s turn to beat away a shot and on this occasion Christian Almeida thumped in the loose ball.
Centurion pulled Racing level again, finishing after Lautaro Martínez’s smart knock-down but the home side soon led for the third time.
Juan Musso, whose mistake presented River with their opener, flapped at a cross from the left and unable to tip the ball behind, Márquez steered it back into the path of Juan Kaprof for an easy finish.
Back-to-back wins over two grandes, Defensa y Justicia are well-placed for another Copa Sudamericana place while Racing will be hoping that Independiente don’t take advantage of their slip.
Defensa y Justicia 3 – 2 Racing Club
Earlier in La Fortaleza, Lanús hosted Banfield in the Clásico del Sur and with both sides struggling for the impressive form that they have shown at times over the past year or so, expectations were low.
Lanús have endured a dreadful few months since reaching the Copa Libertadores final in December but produced one of their stronger performances and were perhaps unlucky not to find a breakthrough.
Nicolás Pasquini hit the crossbar with a superbly hit free-kick and Bruno Vides forced Mauricio Arboleda into a scrambled goal-line save but neither side had the little extra quality needed to find the net in a forgettable goalless clásico.
And finally in Córdoba, Belgrano picked up a first win in six against the already relegated Arsenal.
If El Pirata were to get back to winning ways it looked likely to be in this game and so it proved as two second half headers from Cristian Lema and a delightful outside of the boot finish by Matías Suárez wrapped up a comfortable win.