The non-existent Superclásico may have dominated headlines and seen Sunday’s scheduled clásico between San Lorenzo and Huracán postponed but there was plenty of other action in the Superliga that had an impact at both ends of the table.
League leaders Racing Club had seen Atlético Tucumán close to within a point following victory on Friday evening and so the visit of Banfield to Avellaneda presented Eduardo Coudet’s pacesetters the opportunity to restore their advantage at the top.
Banfield had other ideas and while the home side dominated the game, there was no way past the impressive Mauricio Arboleda in goal. The Colombian made a string of saves to keep Racing at bay and on the one occasion that Arboleda was beaten, Jonathan Cristaldo’s shot came back off the post.
Posing only a minor threat on the counter, Banfield looked content to sit back and frustrate Racing and Julio César Falcioni’s side did just that, throwing bodies in front of the ball, launching into any 50/50 challenges and clearing the ball without hesitation.
Naturally against a side of Racing’s quality that could only get the visitors so far but on each occasion where the door looked to have been left ajar, Arboleda was on hand to slam it shut. The 22-year-old was a particularly nuisance to Racing’s Ricardo Centurión, who went close several times but it was an evening that would ultimately end in frustration.
Racing still lead the way but will know that this was two points dropped in the title race.
Racing Club 0 – 0 Banfield
Earlier in Mar del Plata, Aldosivi halted their four-match winless streak but in handing Newell’s Old Boys a fourth consecutive 1-0 away defeat it pushed manager Omar de Felippe out the door. Poor league form and a clásico defeat to city rivals Rosario Central in the cup quarter final had seen De Felippe on the brink and so another loss prompted the under pressure coach to admit the club needed a change of air.
There was more than a element of misfortune to La Lepra’s latest defeat but as the club’s toothlessness in front of goal led to another blank, Aldosivi’s fortuitous solitary goal was enough. The home side had threatened early on and an alert performance of Alan Aguerre had kept them out yet there was nothing the goalkeeper could do when Matías Pisano’s low cross ballooned off full-back Mariano Bittolo and looped into the air, inside the far post.
Newell’s pushed for an equaliser, Teodoro Paredes came within a whisker but the visitors couldn’t find just one goal to prevent defeat. Aldosivi were in need of the points given their recent slump had seen relegation fears reemerge and with Newell’s looking at next season promedio nervously, making the correct appointment now is vital – Eduardo Domínguez, recently out at Colón, is an early front runner and after a string of underwhelming coaches at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa would be a step in the right direction.
Aldosivi 1 – 0 Newell’s Old Boys
Domínguez’s old side, Colón, currently under the interim guidance of Esteban Fuertes were in Tucumán on Sunday and were held to a goalless draw by a San Martín scrapping for survival.
With one defeat now in six, San Martín are in with a shout of escaping the drop but can hardly afford to allow games like Sunday’s to end all square after creating enough chances to take all the points.
And finally in Santa Fe, Vélez Sarsfield claimed a first away win of the season as they well and truly put an end to Unión’s impressive home record, that until a few weeks had seen El Tatangue go 17 unbeaten.
Gabriel Heinze’s free-flowing, youthful Vélez have rightly drawn plaudits but until Sunday had found travelling away from Liniers their Achilles heel. Unión could have proved another tricky match on the road but instead Vélez’s talent shone and with a 2-0 win, El Fortín climbed to seventh in the table.
Matías Vargas, recently called up to the Argentina squad by Lionel Scaloni, highlighted his skill set with a wondrous through ball for another impressive academy product Nicolás Domínguez to smash Vélez in front after 12 minutes.
Unión were unable to find an equaliser and ten minutes from time after goalkeeper Nereo Fernández was perhaps fortunate to only see a yellow card and a free kick awarded for a foul Rodrigo Salinas, substitute Lucas Robertone curled on a superb free kick.
If Vélez can now establish some form on their travels then Heinze’s team can really push on but as ever with a side full of such talented young players, it is only a matter of time before European clubs come calling.