After hopes of lifting the Copa Sudamericana were ended last week in Quito, Independiente were now focused on the Superliga and had aspirations of making a long overdue title challenge. Sebastián Beccacece handed debuts to Alexander Barboza and Lucas Romero on Monday evening in La Plata but could only watch as his side were soundly beaten by Estudiantes.
Of course after only two games in the case of Independiente it is far too early to write off El Rojo’s chances and Beccacece attempted to divert attention from the players accepting responsibility for the defeat with his tactics yet the level of performance, as was the case in the Copa Sudamericana, will be a concern for many in Avellaneda.
A dull first half saw Estudiantes with plenty of possession yet unable to really test Martín Campaña while Independiente toiled to find any kind of rhythm. If the hope for Beccacece was that the second half would see improvements that almost immediately went out the window when Lucas Romero miscontrolled a simple pass allowing Nahuel Estévez to shoot on goal, Campaña spilled and Ángel González followed in the rebound.
A goal that only rubbed salt in the wound for Independiente, given González had agreed a move to Avellaneda only for Beccacece to realise that the player had been stolen from under the nose of Estudiantes and in an act of friendship to Gabi Milito pulled out of the transfer.
And it wasn’t the only act of goodwill from Independiente as their generous defending allowed Diego García to slot in a second.
Estudiantes were in full control and Enzo Kaliski added the finishing touches to the victory, the midfielder setting himself for a spectacular bicycle kick from the edge of the penalty area. Dreamland for El Pincha; big questions for Beccacece to answer at Independiente.
Estudiantes 3 – 0 Independiente
A little earlier in Santa Fe, Gimnasia’s survival hopes took a severe blow as Colón snatched victory with the last kick of the game. El Lobo sit bottom of the promedio table and have watched as Patronato, Newell’s, Central and the newly promoted clubs have all picked up points.
Wilson Morelo headed Colón in front shortly before the break and although Pablo Velázquez nodded an equaliser, Morelo sealed victory deep in stoppage time.
And it wasn’t only Gimnasia receiving bad news as Bruno Bianchi’s late winner for Atlético Tucumán not only handed Godoy Cruz a third defeat of the season but produced the first managerial departure, Lucas Bernardi all but gone as manager of El Tomba.