The disappointment of their Copa Libertadores exit to eventual champions River Plate in the last 16 is a distant memory and the truth is that aside from that blip it has been an outstanding second half of 2018 for Racing Club. Eduardo Coudet’s side finished the year with a 1-0 win over San Martín de San Juan in Avellaneda and with it will resume in 2019 with a six-point lead at the top of the Superliga.
It wasn’t Racing’s best display but perhaps such is their lofty position that the visit of a side battling against relegation brings with it the expectation of a routine three points.
Ultimately it wasn’t that easy but once again captain Lisandro López was decisive. The veteran striker’s header ten minutes before the break owed as much to goalkeeper Luis Ardente’s ill-advised decision to come for the ball as it did López’s movement and aerial prowess.
Ardente had to the point thwarted Racing and after weathering that initial storm San Martín did fashion a few chances of their own.
However averaging only a goal a game, the visitors lacked that edge in front of goal and when the opportunities did arise they were snatched at. Racing, unable to add to their lead, held on and with it La Academia will enjoy their summer break knowing that they are the team to beat in the Superliga.
Racing Club 1 – 0 San Martín de San Juan
Huracán travelled to La Plata hoping to at least keep up to speed with Racing but surrendered their lead twice against a Gimnasia side eager to prove a point after their Copa Argentina heartbreak in midweek.
Following that penalty loss to Rosario Central it would have been easy for Gimnasia to fold when a defensive lapse allowed Carlos Auzqui to put Huracán ahead after only two minutes. But credit to Pedro Troglio’s side in swiftly drawing level thanks to Santiago Silva’s header.
When Patricio Toranzo volleyed Huracán back in front, once again it didn’t last long as a scramble in the penalty box led to Maximiliano Comba nodding El Lobo level.
Gimnasia 2 – 2 Huracán
And finally in a wet Estadio Diego A. Maradona, Argentinos Juniors brought to an end their worryingly poor 2018 with a 2-1 defeat to Aldosivi.
Allowing Leonel Galeano to ghost in unmarked and head Aldosivi in front at a corner after only quarter of an hour was a bad start but when Alexis Mac Allister equalised from the penalty spot and the visitors saw Emiliano Ozuna sent off, there should have only been one winner.
Instead, Argentinos Juniors wasted opportunities as always and in stoppage time, Emiliano Amor rose at another corner to head in the winner.
Aldosivi’s return to the top flight has seen El Tiburon stay well clear of the dogfight just as Argentinos Juniors did last season. However, things can change quickly and with Los Bichos in free-fall the club need this break to take stock and ensure that relegation fears don’t become reality.