There are few bigger cult heroes in Argentine football than Luis Miguel Pulga Rodríguez and on Friday evening the Atlético Tucumán icon struck a hat-trick to give El Decano a 3-0 win over relegation threatened Tigre ahead of the club’s historic Copa Libertadores quarter final tie this week.
Standing at 5’5” with a build that does well to disguise his ability, La Pulga was in devastating form on Friday and took his record breaking tally to 125 goals for the club and handed Tigre a first defeat of the season.
Ahead of the the quarter final against Libertadores champions Grêmio, Atlético would have been excused for having their focus elsewhere against a Tigre side that has shown great improvements in the opening of this campaign.
However, it took eight minutes for the home side to lead when Rodríguez was alert to Gervasio Nuñez’s mis-hit volley and diverted the ball past Augusto Batalla from close range.
Shortly before the break, Rodríguez took a boot from defender Ignacio Canuto to earn his side a penalty and the 33-year-old got up to drill in the second but Pulga saved the best for last.
Cristian Lucchetti had saved a second half penalty from Diego Vera to deny Tigre the beginning of what could have been a comeback and soon after Rodríguez ensured there was no coming back. Atlético countered with Tigre pushed forward and as Pulga bore down on Batalla’s goal the forward produced a perfectly executed lob to leave the Tigre goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
La Pulga couldn’t be anymore popular in Tucumán than he is already but with the club currently in dreamland, the midweek clash with Grémio is a chance to make history.
Atlético Tucumán 3 – 0 Tigre
Earlier in Quilmes, one of Tigre’s potential relegation rivals Aldosivi secured a vital three points against Estudiantes and for now a long way from the drop zone in the promedio table.
After a goalless first half a defensive lapse allowed Matías Pisano to slot in his third goal of the season and the diminutive forward played a key role in Aldosivi’s second too. Racing in behind Estudiantes’ static defence, Pisano’s attempted to round Mariano Andújar saw the former Independiente man tumble to the turf and although the veteran goalkeeper raged that he had got the ball, referee Hernán Mastrángelo pointed to the spot.
Cristian Chávez tucked it away and with it secured the win for Aldosivi who at this early stage are well on course to avoid an immediate return to the B Nacional.
Estudiantes 0 – 2 Aldosivi