After the bitter disappointment of their Copa Libertadores exit in midweek, Independiente desperately needed to kickstart their Superliga campaign with victory over Patronato.
El Rojo were certainly made to work hard for the three points in Paraná after a horrendous opening 45 minutes saw Ariel Holan forced to use all three substitutions. Argentina defender Alan Franco limped off with a broken metatarsal after two minutes and was followed by Francisco Silva and Silvio Romero before the sides reemerged from half time.
A heavy collision between Pablo Hernández and Nicolás Figal soon after the restart then saw the Independiente centre back stretchered off and so the visitors were left playing with ten for the remainder.
Victory in the circumstances looked unlikely but in the 67th minute a deflected Martín Benítez shot broke the deadlock and soon after it was two. A defensive lapse allowed Emmanuel Gigliotti in behind and the Superliga’s leading scorer skipped around Sebastián Bértoli before clipping the ball over the despairing lunge of a defender.
Renzo Vera managed to pull a goal back from the penalty after a handball by Gastón Silva but Independiente held on through a lengthy and tempestuous stoppage time period.
Patronato 1 – 2 Independiente
Earlier in Mar del Plata, the Superliga’s two most recently promoted clubs met and the contrast in the sides’ fortunes couldn’t have been clearer as Aldosivi went second with victory over winless San Martín de Tucumán.
A bouncing Cristian Chávez volley gave Aldosivi a deserved lead after half an hour and even after seeing Lucas Villalba sent off fifteen minutes from time, El Tiburón added a second. Deep into stoppage time the ten men broke and Emiliano Ozuna tapped in at the second attempt to shoot Aldosivi up to second, albeit having played a game more than almost all others around. San Martín meanwhile already looked doomed to a swift return to the B Nacional.
Aldosivi 2 – 0 San Martín de Tucumán
Godoy Cruz slipped to a third straight defeat in La Plata as Gimnasia secured a valuable three points in their efforts to avoid being dragged into the relegation zone.
The visitors will look back on an opening 45 minutes in which they should have made the most of their superiority but after Santiago García saw a penalty saved by Alexis Arias and Victorio Ramis hit the post, Gimnasia held on. El Lobo were even more fortuitous just before the break when Fabián Rinaudo, already on a yellow card, clearly prevented a counter only for referee Germán Delfino to blow for half time rather than punish the midfielder.
That came back to haunt Godoy Cruz as it was Gimnasia who finally opened the scoring, Santiago Silva flicking the ball over the head of Fabricio Angileri before delicately lobbing Roberto Ramírez.
Godoy Cruz did eventually get their numerical advantage when Lorenzo Faravelli and Rinaudo were sent off but even in stoppage time playing against nine, El Tomba couldn’t find an equaliser.
Gimnasia 1 – 0 Godoy Cruz
And if Gimnasia’s win was important in the relegation battle, San Martín de San Juan’s victory over Vélez Sarsfield could prove critical as the three points took the Verdinegros out of the bottom four and plunged Belgrano into the drop zone.
Juan Mattia headed San Martín in front early and although Nicolás Domínguez nodded an equaliser, it proved a bad day at the office for Gabriel Heinze’s side.
Goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez lost his bearings at a corner and allowed Marcos Gelabert to head San Martín back in front just after the hour mark and when the talented Matías Vargas was sent off a mistimed lunge, the writing was on the wall.
Nazareno Solis tapped in a third following good work by Pablo Magnin and with it San Martín took a very small step towards safety.