If River Plate’s defeat to Talleres and fairly lacklustre Superclásico draw was supposed to signal another surrender of the Superliga at the expense of the Copa Libertadores, then Marcelo Gallardo’s side emphatically responded on Saturday night with a dominant victory over Huracán.
The 4-0 scoreline flattered the hosts and River, the Superliga’s leading scorers, could have added even more to their tally had they been a little more clinical in front of goal.
As soon as Milton Casco arrived at the back-post to fire River in front after 18 minutes, the game looked as good as over. River were rampant, the gulf in class was huge and soon after Nacho Fernández raced forward on the counter. The midfielder won a penalty when his shot was blocked by the arm of Mariano Bareiro and Fernández stepped up to double the lead from the spot.
Huracán had no answer to River and before half time the result was put beyond doubt. Unable to clear their lines efficiently the ball eventually fell to Exequiel Palacios 25 yards from goal and the Argentina midfielder took a touch before blasting it beyond Antony Silva.
It took five minutes of the second half for Rafael Santos Borré to slide the ball across goal and Nicolás de la Cruz to tap in number five and the only question was how many River may score.
Santos Borré hit the woodwork after rounding Silva and Ignacio Scocco missed two glorious opportunities when through on goal and so Huracán blushes were spared but with River climbing to within two points of the top, a serious title challenge cannot be ruled out like in previous seasons.
Huracán 0 – 4 San Lorenzo
That gap now only two points after San Lorenzo suffered a first defeat of the season. Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side were in Santa Fe to play Colón and slipped up 2-1 allowing Boca Juniors to potentially leapfrog into pole on Sunday.
Luis Rodríguez proved to be decisive as the flea drew the handball from Gerónimo Poblete from which the Colón forward opened the scoring and the 34-year-old would later deliver the free-kick to set up Wilson Morelo’s winner.
San Lorenzo dominated possession and once Ángel Romero had come off the bench to make an immediate impact, equalising minutes after the restart, Los Cuervos would have fancied their chances to take all three points.
They had their chances but a defensive lapse ten minutes from time allowed Rodríguez to clip a free-kick in behind and Morelo reacted quicker than anyone in a San Lorenzo shirt to slot the ball past Nicolás Navarro.
Colón 2 – 1 San Lorenzo
Arsenal bounced back from consecutive defeats to ease past Unión and go second just a point off San Lorenzo.
A lightning-quick start in Sarandí saw Fabio Pereyra bundle in a scrappy opener and inside five minutes Nicolás Giménez had tapped in a second.
Jalil Elías hit the woodwork and Walter Bou missed a great chance to pull one back before the break but when Juan Cruz Kaprof headed in the third after 53 minutes any hope of a comeback was put to bed.
Unión would strike the frame of the goal once more through Nicolás Mazzola before Bou headed one back though it would be nothing more than a consolation as Joel Soñora wrapped up the win in stoppage time.
Argentinos Juniors joined Arsenal close to the top with a 1-0 win over Godoy Cruz in Mendoza, Miguel Torrén’s eighth-minute header enough to take all three points for the undefeated Bichos.
And Defensa y Justicia also celebrated victory thanks to two goals in three second half minutes against Central Córdoba in Santiago del Estero.
Two low crosses from the right were converted first by Nicolás Fernández and then Bautista Merlini to set El Halcón on their way and although Jonathan Herrera pulled one back a minute from time, the visitors held on for a second win of the season.