Just as River Plate discovered on Friday evening, focusing on a Copa Libertadores semi final just a few days away makes a Superliga fixture difficult, and while Boca Juniors avoided defeat unlike their bitter rivals it was a limp performance that allowed Rosario Central to leave La Bombonera with a point.
In fact it was the visitors who looked the more likely winners in a game of few chances. Boca still had the talent on the pitch to overpower Central but while the likes of Darío Benedetto and Fernando Gago look to regain form after injury layoffs, it was telling that 19-year-old central defender Leonardo Balerdi was man of the match.
A fierce Washington Camacho strike was the closest either side came to an opener during a dull first half and while things did pick up slight after the break, clear opportunities were at a premium.
Federico Carrizo blazed over the best chance for Central but with Benedetto looking a fraction of the striker prior to his knee injury, Boca were short of firepower.
Central youngster Joaquín Pereyra was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card in his 20-minute cameo but there was no time for Boca to take advantage. The point leaves the champions in fifth, however Racing Club could go eight points ahead with victory on Sunday.
Boca Juniors 0 – 0 Rosario Central
Newell’s Old Boys’ days in the Copa Libertadores may seem like a distant memory but La Lepra are preparing for something of even greater importance in Rosario, a Copa Argentina quarter final against city rivals Central, and with Omar de Felippe’s side in such poor form a morale boosting win was needed.
Relegation threatened Tigre were the visitor to the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa and thankfully for Newell’s, after a tense week at the training ground with the barra bravas, La Lepra secured the points.
Fabricio Fontanini headed Newell’s in front midway through the first half and after Mauro Formica had rattled the woodwork, the home side would eventually double their lead. Mauro Formica cut inside onto his right foot and produced a superb effort into the top corner leaving Augusto Batalla no chance.
Newell’s deservedly held on for the win and gain some momentum ahead of that clásico showdown in the cup.
Newell’s Old Boys 2 – 0 Tigre
Another side desperate for a win were Lanús and with a 3-1 victory over Patronato El Granate finally chalked up three points in the Superliga this season.
Patronato look increasingly likely to drop back into the B Nacional and it is little wonder when Lanús signed the Paraná clubs best player during the previous transfer window. Sebastián Ribas made the move to the Fortaleza in July and while the Uruguayan hasn’t produced anywhere near the level he did last season, it was Ribas who opened the scoring against his former club with a far post header at a free-kick.
Lanús remained the more threatening and were gifted a second when Damián Lemos volleyed into his own net just after half time and although Mauricio Sperduti’s acrobatic volley pulled a goal back for Patronato, substitute José Luis Sinisterra wrapped up the points on the counter.
Patronato remain rooted in the relegation zone and while Lanús look prime candidates for next season, Luis Zubeldía picking up his first win since returning as manager provides a foundation from which to build.
Lanús 3 – 1 Patronato
And earlier in Mendoza, Godoy Cruz bounced back from three straight defeats to overpower a resurgent Aldosivi and claim a 2-0 win.
18-year-old Valentín Burgoa’s stunning strike opened the deadlock just before the hour mark and the minutes from time Santiago García rolled the ball for Ángel González to tap in a second.
Godoy Cruz 2 – 0 Aldosivi