Former teammates Marcelo Gallardo and Hernan Crespo locked horns in the opposing dugouts as River Plate visited Banfield on Sunday night but things weren’t entirely cordial as the Millonario boss was less than pleased with a power outage at the Estadio Florencio Sola during the 1-1 draw.
Games have come thick and fast for River since the restart of the season and after their midweek draw in Rosario, the Copa Libertadores champions their remained a chance to climb into the top four with victory on Sunday. However, a laboured performance during the opening period saw Banfield on top and when the lights went out midway through the first half, Gallardo suggested it wasn’t entirely accidental.
Play eventually resumed and while neither side could find an opener during the opening 45 minutes it didn’t too long after the break for Banfield to breakthrough. Agustín Fontana scored twice last week in the draw with Tigre and toe poked a cross from the left that squirmed past Franco Armani.
In the tight competition for 2020 Copa Libertadores qualification, River were desperate to avoid defeat and after Juan Fernando Quintero latest long range effort clattered off the crossbar it looked as though it might have been one of those nights.
Yet with seven minutes of normal time remaining Matías Suárez was tripped and Lucas Pratto, having seen his initial effort from the penalty spot saved, tapped in the rebound.
Crespo still waits for his first win as Banfield manager while River remain a couple of points outside the top four for now.
Banfield 1 – 1 River Plate
Boca Juniors meanwhile have clawed their way up to third with a win over in-form Lanús.
After a goalless 55 minutes the game sparked into life with Emmanuel Mas heading Boca in front and what followed was a frantic seven-minute spell.
José Sand fired Lanús level and almost immediately Boca restored their lead. The frustrating Cristian Pavón away down the right cutting the ball back for Mauro Zárate, whose shot took a deflection off Gabriel Carrasco into the net.
A first defeat in eight for Lanús and for Gustavo Alfaro a valuable victory at a time when the Boca manager is yet to find his best side.
Boca Juniors 2 – 1 Lanús
The Superliga’s most recently appointed manager, Néstor Gorosito got off to a flying start in Rosario as Tigre secured a vital victory over Central.
Relegation still looms for El Matador but a perfect start for Gorosito breathes life into their survival hopes. Walter Montillo was outstanding and it was the veteran playmaker who teed up Federico González to fire Tigre in front after only ten minutes.
Montillo was the provider again when Lucas Janson doubled the lead before the break and while Tigre’s attacking looked anything but a side destined for the B Nacional, so often their defending is their downfall.
On this occasion, they held firm and although Germán Herrera rattled the crossbar, Central could find no way past Gonzalo Marinelli. Still eight points from safety with six games to go, Tigre could yet survive but there is no margin for error.
Rosario Central 0 – 2 Tigre
Finally in Córdoba, a largely second string Talleres held Huracán to a goalless draw as their focus immediately switches to this week’s Copa Libertadores clash with Palestino.
There has been no time to celebrate the midweek victory over São Paulo to secure progression in the Libertadores and it will count for nothing if it is indeed Palestino who book a place in the group stages but La T are enjoying a period of real success.
Only their second appearance in the continent’s biggest competition means that for now the Superliga is a distraction but despite that Juan Pablo Vojvoda’s side had more than enough to deny fifth-placed Huracán a win.