Racing Club took another step towards the title on Saturday night as Eduardo Coudet’s side overcame rivals Independiente in an engaging Clásico de Avellaneda.
An even game in which Independiente will feel they were the better side for large parts was ultimately decided by an individual error and Racing demonstrated they have what it takes to go all the way in the title race.
It took only four minutes for Racing to lead when a corner heading for Alejandro Donatti appeared to come off Guillermo Burdisso’s thigh and into the net and while the visitors could barely have asked for a better start, Independiente responded well. Having gone close on a couple of occasions, Fernando Gaibor deservedly equalised on the stroke of half time and at that stage the game looked wide open.
The critical moment came shortly after the break when Alan Franco allowed Darío Cvitanich to nick the ball when attempting to shepherd it out and after tucking back the veteran striker, Néstor Pitana pointed to the spot. Lisandro López slotted in and it left Independiente chasing the game once more.
Martín Benítez and Cecilio Domínguez both missed glorious chances to pull El Rojo level and in stoppage time with goalkeeper Martín Campaña up for a corner, Racing broke allowing Matías Zaracho to tap in a third.
Three points clear at the top, Racing hope that Boca can deny Defensa y Justicia on Sunday.
Independiente 1 – 3 Racing Club
Vélez Sarsfield returned to winning ways to climb to sixth in the table with a 2-0 win over Godoy Cruz. A Leandro Fernández penalty put Vélez ahead and when Godoy Cruz saw Nahuel Arena sent off with barely half an hour on the clock, El Tomba were clearly in danger of another defeat.
Lucas Robertone clipped in a wonderful second with a second half free kick from the edge of the penalty area and Vélez secured all the points. The result looks set to end Marcelo Gómez’s short stint in charge of Godoy Cruz, fitting that the former Vélez reserve coach has his old employers call time on his managerial career.
Godoy Cruz 0 – 2 Vélez Sarsfield
Huracán were hoping to bounce back and stake a claim for the Copa Libertadores spot but were instead dealt a blow with a home defeat to Unión.
In-form Franco Fragapane bent in a fine opener and when Mauro Pittón tapped in a second just a couple of minutes later, Huracán looked in trouble. Lucas Barrios headed a goal back late on but almost immediately a defensive gaff allowed Franco Troyansky to tap in a third for Unión.
Huracán 1 – 3 Unión
And finally, Belgrano were once again unable to find the three points needed to help their survival cause as San Lorenzo left Córdoba with a point.
Gonzalo Castellani headed against the crossbar for San Lorenzo but it was Belgrano left to feel more aggrieved by the point after seeing another debatable offside decision rule out a goal. El Pirata are running out of time to secure their top flight survival while Jorge Almirón is still yet to win as San Lorenzo boss as the winless run extends to eleven.