It certainly wasn’t the best Racing performance under Eduardo Coudet but Jonathan Cristaldo’s header was enough to give La Academia victory over Newell’s Old Boys on Sunday evening and with it send Racing seven points clear at the top of the table.
After losing Argentina squad members Matias Zaracho and Renzo Saravia to injury during the first half, Racing needed a boost and they got it on the stroke of half time as Cristaldo stooped to nod past Alan Aguerre.
Lisandro López twice had the ball in the net during the second 45 minutes, once correctly flagged offside and the other horrendously pulled back by the over-eager linesman.
However, Newell’s too had their chances and besides a decent penalty claim, came close to forcing an equaliser on a number of occasions. Following defeat to Rosario Central in the week it would have been easy for Newell’s to roll over but La Lepra battled and ensured that Racing were made to work for the win.
Admirable yet ultimately unrewarded, Newell’s left Avellaneda with nothing and Racing are now in a commanding position. Defensa y Justicia, with their three games in hand, can still go above La Academia but the rest of the field are playing catch-up.
Racing Club 1 – 0 Newell’s Old Boys
Finally in Tucumán it was the meeting of the two San Martín’s and with both fighting against relegation, three vital points were on the line.
Both had chances but two wonderful free-kicks eventually earned San Martín de Tucumán victory.
San Martín de San Juan had earlier been fuming over the awarding of a penalty for an apparent handball that on replay looked more like Federico Milo’s shoulder. However, Luis Ardente’s fingertips save to deny Claudio Bieler from the spot meant that the visitors weren’t punished.
The game remained in the balance until the 66th minute when veteran Tino Costa whipped in a free-kick from a position out wide on the right and without taking a touch it whistled past Ardente.
San Martín de San Juan still had chances to take a point only for Matías García to bend in a sensational free-kick three minutes from time. Both clubs remain in the bottom four and while San Martín de San Juan will be concerned over Belgrano opening up a gap to safety, San Martín de Tucumán will be full of confidence.
Seven points from the last nine available, the Tucumán club are off the bottom of the promedio and in their first season up with the ability to improve their average much quicker there is a realistic path to survival.
San Martín de Tucumán 2 – 0 San Martín de San Juan