Defensa y Justicia keep waiting for Racing Club to slip but as yet Eduardo Coudet’s title favourites just keep on winning. Sunday evening was another opportunity to falter after the underdogs from Florencio Varela had drawn level once more and while Huracán made matters uncomfortable for a while, Racing secured another vital three points at the Cilindro.
With the visitors battling for Copa Libertadores qualification themselves, Eduardo Coudet knew that a vastly improved performance from the one that produced an unconvincing win over Aldosivi the week prior was needed and the fiery, scarf enthusiast got that.
Always a threat at set-pieces Racing led just after the hour mark when Jonathan Cristaldo bundled the ball over the line following in Alejandro Donatti’s header which had come back off the post.
Before a blistering start to the second half saw Carlos Araujo clear off the line to deny Racing a second and then Carlos Auzqui dash clear at the other end to equalise.
Racing’s tempo increased in the knowledge a point would allow their lead to be cut and soon after La Academia were back in front. Substitute Darío Cvitanich found Pol Fernández in the box and his goalbound shot was blocked by the arms of Pablo Álvarez. Referee Néstor Pitana spotted the infraction and pointed to the spot, allowing Superliga leading scorer Lisandro López to score once more from the penalty spot.
Chasing the game Huracán were reduced to ten men when Auzqui was shown a second yellow card and minutes later the contest was over. Racing sliced through the ten men and defender Leonardo Sigali rolled in a decisive third.
There was still time for Andrés Chávez to be given his marching orders, a silly kick that Nery Domínguez showed no hesitation in making the most of, and with it the nine men of Huracán were done.
A three-point lead at the top of the table, Racing’s trip to a rejuvenated River Plate next weekend could play a major role in where the title ends up this season.
Racing Club 3 – 1 Huracán
Racing’s trip to the Monumental would have looked considerably less threatening one week ago after River Plate had suffered a third straight home defeat. Seven days later and the Copa Libertadores champions have secured back-to-back away wins and put an end to Vélez Sarsfield’s 14-match unbeaten streak in Liniers.
It is perhaps too early to say Marcelo Gallardo’s side are back, as River were indebted to goalkeeper Franco Armani on Sunday evening, but there is certainly a renewed vigour and the Millonarios will be eager to return to winning ways back at the Monumental next weekend.
Vélez will certainly look back on Sunday’s defeat ruefully after Rodrigo Salinas’ saved first half penalty allowed River to stay in the game – one of two superb stops by Armani that denied Gabriel Heinze’s side what would have been a deserved first half lead.
And after failing to take advantage Vélez were punished three minutes after the break. Nicolás De La Cruz thread a pass through to Rafael Santos Borré and the Colombian clipped the ball over Lucas Hoyos to break the deadlock.
Braian Cufré and Nicolás Domínguez both spurned good chances to equalise before the game was put out of reach. Gastón Giménez pulled down substitute Matías Suárez and after seeing the captain sent off, Vélez were two-down – Juan Fernando Quintero scoring the subsequent penalty.
18-year-old Alvaro Barreal managed to pull a goal back, his first in senior football, but it was merely a consolation as River picked up a morale boosting three points.
Vélez Sarsfield 1 – 2 River Plate