Racing’s draw against Colón on Saturday had opened the door for Defensa y Justicia to close the gap to just a single point on Monday evening and thanks to yet another last ditch winner, El Halcón did just that. Nicolás Fernández completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute to defeat Banfield, send supporters in Florencio Varela into raptures and maintain the title dream.
Fernández had opened the scoring early, latching on to a long punt downfield by goalkeeper Ezequiel Unsain to clip the ball beyond Mauricio Arboleda but the lead didn’t last long. Juan Alvarez’s low cross eluding three defenders to allow Nicolás Bertolo to tap in an equaliser at the back post.
A second for Fernández after half an hour looked as though it might be enough only for Bertolo to head Banfield level once again ten minutes from time.
An opportunity to cut the gap to Racing was slipping through Defensa y Justicia’s fingers but as Sebastián Beccacece’s side have done on so many occasions this season, they pulled something out of the bag. A poor defensive header by Jorge Rodríguez and a rash decision from Arboleda to come off his line presented Fernández with a chance and the 23-year-old floated the ball into the net.
Three games remain and Defensa y Justicia trail Racing by a single point. If that weren’t exciting enough, the two sides meet in Avellaneda on the final day of the season.
Defensa y Justicia 3 – 2 Banfield
Far away from the title race, Tigre are trying to claw their way to safety but despite an admirable two-goal comeback against Unión, a draw leaves El Matador in deep trouble.
Diego Zabala and Yeimar Gómez Andrade put Unión into a commanding lead within the opening quarter of an hour and give Tigre’s run-in includes matches against River Plate and Racing, their Superliga survival hung in the balance.
Lucas Menossi fired a goal back on the hour mark before Carlos Luna’s sensational 87th minute strike pulled the home side level. Neither side could muster a winner and the point leaves Tigre three points from safety with a tricky three games remaining.
Meanwhile in La Paternal, Argentinos Juniors held Vélez Sarsfield to a goalless draw. Gabriel Heinze’s side have dipped in form and with it seen hopes of Copa Libertadores qualification fade while Argentinos remain dangerously above the drop zone.