With Nicolás Domínguez in Italy sealing his move to Bologna and Gastón Giménez injured, Gabriel Heinze was forced to reshuffle his midfield but it didn’t prevent Lucas Robertone netting an early goal in La Plata to give Vélez Sarsfield an important victory over Estudiantes.
A first start after nine months out with an achilles injury was a test for Fernando Gago’s often fragile physical state but the 33-year-old completed 90 minutes as Vélez were forced to withstand pressure in order to claim back-to-back league wins.
A flowing move after only six minutes saw the overlapping Braian Cufré pull the ball back for Robertone to sweep past Mariano Andújar but Vélez struggled to create much of note from that point on.
Ángel González went close to a swift equaliser and while Estudiantes dominated for large parts they too failed to test Lucas Hoyos a great deal. In spite of that Gabriel Milito may well wonder how his side ended up with nothing.
Vélez were poor and Heinze clearly frustrated with the club’s decision to allow Domínguez to leave one day before the game following a week of preparation with the 21-year-old part of his plans was sent from the dugout late on.
Vélez held on for three points putting their slow start behind them and will have Domínguez back available but Heinze will demand improvements.
Estudiantes 0 – 1 Vélez Sarsfield
Lanús also maintained a good run of form despite missing key players as a third straight win shot El Granate momentarily up into third place in the table.
Central Córdoba De Santiago del Estero were the visitors to La Fortaleza but with Lanús missing the influential Marcelino Moreno and Lautaro Acosta it could have been a difficult evening for Luis Zubeldía’s side.
The opening exchanges certainly suggested so with Jonathan Herrera wasting a glorious opportunity and Gervasio Núñez forcing Agustín Rossi into a diving save from a free-kick.
Lanús needed a some inspiration and they found it from a reliable, old source. 39-year-old José Sand, normally the man to finish off chances, produced an exquisite flick round the corner to bamboozle Central Córdoba and Carlos Auzqui slotted in the opening goal.
The visitors were not to be discouraged though and continued to come forward only unable to fashion a clear cut chance or to force a way past Rossi in the Lanús goal.
Ezequiel Muñoz came close to sealing the points with a header saved late on but it wasn’t needed. After the humbling defeat to River a few weeks back, Lanús have responded superbly and three wins have not only fired them up the table but more importantly eased any relegation concerns.
Finally in Florencio Varela, pressure increased on Hernán Crespo as his Banfield side were unable to find anyway past Defensa y Justicia. A dull goalless draw could have been worse had Neri Cordozo not missed the target with the goal gaping at the end of a swift Defensa y Justicia counter.
Both sides have managed just one way this season and while Mariano Soso should be afforded more time with a much-changed Defensa y Justicia side, Crespo needs points. Two wins from fifteen league games in charge and despite at times some neat football, supporters are growing frustrated.