Racing’s attention may have been on the scandal surrounding ineligible players in the Copa Libertadores and their own last 16 tie with River Plate but Eduardo Coudet didn’t allow his side’s focus to lapse and instead La Academia cruised past a worryingly poor Patronato.
Nicolás Royón perhaps should have given Patronato an earlier lead but after Gabriel Arias saved one-on-one, Racing began to dominate.
The impressive Pol Fernández had already struck the woodwork with a free-kick when the recent midfield acquisition opened the scoring. The ball broke for the 26-year-old on the edge of the box and Fernández cooly guided it beyond Sebastián Bértoli into the bottom corner.
Two goals in as many games Fernández is already staking a claim to form part of Coudet’s first choice midfield and the truth is that all of Racing’s winter signings are looking astute additions – Fernández, Arias in goal, Eugenio Mena at left-back, Marcelo Díaz and Jonathan Cristaldo, all have vastly improved the overall squad.
Arias produced another top class stop and Augusto Solari committed one of the misses of the season at the other end as it ended 1-0 at the break but Racing didn’t need to wait long after the restart to extend their lead.
Captain for the evening Ricardo Centurión rolled in from the penalty spot after a handball and with it Patronato looked done.
Gustavo Bou and Maxi Cuadra combined for the youngster to tap-in a third and with it Racing headed at least momentarily to the top of the table. Patronato meanwhile sit firmly in the drop zone and short of the quality required to save themselves.
Patronato 0 – 3 Racing Club
Patronato’s defeat was compounded by relegation rivals Belgrano chalking up a first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Estudiantes at the Alberdi.
The visitors coming off an impressive win over Boca Juniors clearly had their Copa Libertadores last 16 match in mind when opting to rest several regulars but started well enough.
Yet it was Belgrano who led after 21 minutes when a counter attack saw Adrián Balboa come back onside for the crucial phase of play to tap in unmarked at the back post.
If Estudiantes were a little annoyed by the opening goal then Leandro Benítez’s side simply had to applaud the quality of Belgrano’s second.
There appeared to be little danger when a throw-in from the left bounced towards Matías Suárez with his back to goal on the edge of the box. However, one exquisite touch flicked the ball over two Estudiantes defenders, a drop of the shoulder bypassed Fabián Noguera and a clip with the outside-of-the-boot slotted past Mariano Andújar.
A Sebastián Olivares own goal pulled a goal back in stoppage time but Belgrano held on for an important three points and as long as El Pirata have the quality of Suárez they have a good chance of beating the drop.