Sitting in the relegation zone, Belgrano were in desperate need of three points and new manager Diego Osella was one minute away from doing just that until a controversial indirect free-kick and some quick thinking by Darío Cvitanich saw Banfield snatch a draw.
Deep into stoppage time Belgrano goalkeeper César Rigamonti had the ball safely in his hands. In a crowded penalty area there had probably been a foul on a defender prior to Rigamonti claiming the ball but there was no danger and El Pirata simply needed to see out the following 60 seconds. Cvitanich stayed close to Rigamonti and as the Belgrano number one held onto the ball, referee Fernando Espinoza eventually penalised him for not releasing. As Belgrano argued the case, the wily Cvitanich took the ball, quickly rolled the indirect free-kick into the path of Julián Carranza and the young striker tapped in the equaliser.
Belgrano were incredulous. After managing to keep Banfield out for 93 minutes and Jonás Aguirre had slid in the only goal at the end of the first half, El Pirata had an invaluable three points in their hands.
Espinoza’s officiating will be called into question but Rigamonti was guilty if naivety and it could prove costly. Belgrano remain in the drop zone and given how close things are at the foot of the promedio, those two points may be the difference between safety and relegation.
Belgrano 1 – 1 Banfield
Thankfully for Belgrano, relegation rivals San Martín de San Juan also conceded a late goal and in the process lost 2-1 to San Lorenzo in the Nuevo Gasómetro.
Gustavo Villarruel nodded San Martín ahead following a counter attack in the seventh minute but almost immediately San Lorenzo were level. Nicolás Reneiro’s touch in the penalty area dropped kindly for Nicolás Blandi, back in the starting eleven after injury, and the captain made no mistake in volleying past Luis Ardente.
Under-fire manager Claudio Biaggio needed more than a point but his San Lorenzo side lacked creativity and for the most part were restricted to long shots. Until five minutes from time when substitute Fernando Belluschi swung over a deep cross from the right and Colombian Daniel Hernández’s sweetly struck volley found the bottom corner.
Biaggio will need more of that to keep his job but with Blandi and Belluschi back in action, there are fewer excuses.