Hernán Crespo has been left frustrated by his side’s defending on a number of occasions since taking over at Banfield but on Friday evening in La Bombonera it was a missed offside decision that allowed Boca Juniors to score a decisive opening goal in El Taladro’s 2-0 defeat.
Boca secured at least third spot with the win and in the process Gustavo Alfaro bettered the great Carlos Bianchi’s record after 13 games as manager but the game’s major talking point was unquestionably Ramón Ábila’s opener.
Banfield had started the brighter and threatened early on but fell behind after 18 minutes when the fit again Cristian Pavón raced down the right and pulled the ball across the penalty area to the clearly offside Ábila to tap in. Replays confirmed that the centre forward was some yards ahead of play when the ball was played but the linesman failed to raise his flag and to Banfield’s frustration could only later offer an apology.
Ábila and Pavón would both spurn good opportunities to extend the lead but Banfield remained dangerous throughout. Jesús Dátolo clipped the crossbar with a fine free-kick shortly after half time and with Boca anxiously only one ahead, Pavón eased any nerves. The 23-year-old, who had come under fire for his drop in form prior to injury, finished off a counter superbly to double the lead.
Substitute Nicolás Silva would rattle the Boca woodwork once more late on but Banfield couldn’t find as much as a consolation as Boca held on for all three points.
Boca Juniors 2 – 0 Banfield
While Gustavo Alfaro is settling into life at La Bombonera nicely, his replacement at Huracán, Antonio Mohamed comes under increasing pressure after El Globo slumped to a fifth straight defeat away to Newell’s Old Boys.
Newell’s have hardly been in good form themselves and after their shock Copa Argentina exit, Héctor Bidoglio resigned only to agree to oversee the final two games of the season as caretaker. It was the 51-year-old’s success as interim boss in the first place that earned him the opportunity and while it didn’t work out, Bidoglio once again led La Lepra to victory.
Huracán goalkeeper Antony Silva bringing down Braian Rivero allowed Maxi Rodríguez to break the deadlock from the penalty spot and although Andrés Chávez swiftly equalised, Newell’s were in front after after half an hour. Maxi, this time the provider as his low cross found cousin Alexis unmarked in the six-yard box for a simple tap in.
Newell’s were decent value for their lead and ten minutes from time, Luis Leal wrapped up the points. More absent defending from Huracán saw a long ball find the run of Leal and the centre forward powerfully finished past Silva.