A title challenge may have slipped away with little more than a whimper but San Lorenzo guaranteed themselves a swift return to the Copa Libertadores with victory over Belgrano on Friday.
It still wasn’t a great performance by Claudio Biaggio’s side but it was enough for three valuable points and to dent Belgrano’s hopes of a Copa Sudamericana place.
The visitors started the better team and Matías Suárez had rattled the crossbar with a vicious long range effort but it was San Lorenzo who led after 25 minutes. Referee Nicolás Lamolina harshly penalised Erik Godoy for handball and Nicolás Blandi, back from injury, made no mistake from the spot.
Belgrano continued to create chances and had a decent penalty shout of their own turned away but ten minutes from time, San Lorenzo sealed victory. A swift counter attack left El Pirata exposed and Federico Lértora’s clumsy attempt to cut out Blandi’s cross left Gabriel Gudiño with a simple tap-in.
After a year away from the competition, San Lorenzo will play in the Copa Libertadores in 2019 with a top-five finish now guaranteed.
San Lorenzo 2 – 0 Belgrano
Earlier in San Juan, Vélez Sarsfield chalked up a third consecutive win thanks to a quick start inspired by in-form Matías Vargas.
The 20-year-old’s impressive displays of late have already attracted interested from Europe and within five minutes, El Monito squared for Lucas Robertone to tap-in the opener.
Shortly after and Vargas dissected the San Martín defence once more for Agustín Bouzat this time to drill the ball past Luis Ardente.
Vélez have leaked goals regularly but were able to hold firm in San Juan and in truth should have made the victory even more comfortable.
The progress under Gabriel Heinze is clear and Vélez must now look to build on this next season.