Lanús punish woeful Independiente & Defensa y Justicia close on leaders with victory over Tigre (VIDEO)

Lanús are already battling against relegation next season and Independiente hold aspirations of challenging for the title but it was hard to tell on the evidence of Monday’s Superliga fixture. In a game of such poor quality it was El Granate’s will that drove them to a deserved but instantly forgettable 1-0 victory.

Independiente manager Ariel Holan stressed that it his side’s performance wasn’t a question of attitude but El Rojo were flat from kick off and if either team looked likely to score it was Lanús.

That being said, other than a stinging drive by Tomás Belmonte, Independiente goalkeeper Martín Campaña had few meaningful saves to make during a dull opening 45 minutes.

There was little improvement after the break and while Independiente remained imprecise and lacking energy, it was the visitors that came closest to breaking the deadlock when Superliga top scorer Emmanuel Gigliotti sent a deflected header against the post.

Lanús continued to push sensing that three points were within their grasp and ten minutes from time, Luis Zubeldía’s side got their reward. Campaña played the ball out wide to defender Gastón Silva and the defender’s lazy first touch allowed Belmonte to nick position, release Pedro de la Vega and within seconds, Gastón Lodico was sweeping the ball into the net.

A defensive lapse allowing a self-inflicted wound, punished by Lanús’ youthful, energetic trio of Belmonte, De La Vega and Lodico was perhaps a fitting end to the game.

Lanús  1 – 0  Independiente

Earlier in Florencio Varela, unbeaten Defensa y Justicia responded to their back-to-back draws to edge past Tigre and close to within four points of leaders Racing Club with a game still in-hand.

An action-packed opening saw Alexander Barboza head against his own post as Tigre came within inches of a shock lead before outstanding central defensive partner Lisandro Martínez split the visiting defence with a raking long ball for Matías Rojas to open the scoring.

Despite Tigre’s lowly position and almost certain relegation it didn’t prove to be a killer early blow and soon after half time the visitors equalised through veteran Walter Montillo.

Sebastián Beccacece knew that a third consecutive draw would be two huge points dropped and as his side increased the pressure, Tigre eventually buckled. Nicolás Fernández twisted away from centre back Ignacio Canuto and the Tigre defender’s decision to pull back the striker may have only resulted in a free kick on the edge of the box but also produced a correctly awarded red card.

Fernández would ultimately prove decisive and the 22-year-old will likely not score an easier goal all season. Tigre goalkeeper Gonzalo Marinelli came to a punch a cross, missed the ball and it was instead headed into the path of Fernández to volley into an empty net.

Tigre ended the game with nine men after Sebastián Prediger saw red for a late challenge on Lisandro Martínez but the result was no longer in doubt. Defensa y Justicia’s remarkable season continues and El Halcón may yet present a serious title challenge to Racing.

Defensa y Justicia  2 – 1  Tigre

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