Another week, another clean sheet and another three points as Boca Juniors defeated San Lorenzo in the top of the table clash to go two points clear at the Superliga summit.
With the Superclásico Copa Libertadores semi-final looming, Boca are in a good place and while that form will likely go out the window when faced with River Plate, Gustavo Alfaro’s side are the team to beat in the league.
Let alone beating Boca, the challenge at present is just to find a way past Esteban Andrada. Seven games, seven clean sheets and as the Argentina goalkeeper racks up over 1000 minutes without conceding a goal, Boca become only the third side since 1891 to manage such a feat.
Once Lisandro López headed Boca in front just before the break in the Nuevo Gasómetro it was always going to be difficult for San Lorenzo to find a way back and the lead was well deserved. An immense threat in the air, López found the breakthrough yet the warning signs had already been clear at set-pieces with Franco Soldano having a goal wrongly ruled out for offside and Nicolás Capaldo scrambling the ball against the post.
San Lorenzo looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season improved after the break but were unable to beat Andrada. Mauro Pittón tamely shot on goal after good work from Adolfo Gaich and Ángel Romero wasted a good headed chance and as the home side pushed forward in search of an equaliser they left spaces for Boca to expose.
In stoppage time the visitors did just that. Eduardo Salvio came off the bench to slalom through San Lorenzo and the former international set up Jan Hurtado for his first Boca goal.
All that really matters to Boca for the moment is beating River in the Copa Libertadores but as long as Alfaro’s side continue to defend like this they will be very difficult to knock off the top of the Superliga.
San Lorenzo 0 – 2 Boca Juniors
Independiente look a million miles off the title challenge that the club so wanted to deliver this season but after a week of drama and increased pressure on manager Sebastián Beccacece, El Rojo managed an important three points away to Atlético Tucumán.
Without Pablo Pérez due to a club suspension following a dressing room outburst during last week’s draw with Lanús there was a real sense that this was either the beginning of the end for Beccacece or a fresh start. One result can’t really prove that either way yet but Independiente did show an encouraging amount of spirit for the manager and the reaction to the full tie whistle proved just how important victory was.
It wasn’t a good performance and El Rojo needed the intervention of captain Martín Campaña in goal to keep the scores level yet with one moment of genuine quality Independiente snatched it.
Centre-back Nicolás Figal burst out of the backline to beat two players, played a one-two with Silvio Romero and then squared the ball for Sebastián Palacios to tap in the simplest of goals just after the hour mark.
And that proved enough. Beccacece almost immediately sacrificed striker Romero for another centre-back in the form of under-fire Alexander Barboza and El Rojo clung on.
It could have been a little more comfortable had referee Néstor Pitana awarded what was a nailed on penalty for a foul on Domingo Blanco but thankfully for Independiente it didn’t matter. The return of Uruguayan Carlos Benavidez in place of Pérez was a genuine plus after the 21-year-old spent the best part of a year out after a serious knee injury and now Beccacece must build on this victory.
Atlético Tucumán 0 – 1 Independiente
Earlier in Florencio Varela a former Independiente midfielder gave Huracán victory over Defensa y Justicia as Rodrigo Gómez produced an outstanding free-kick to snatch the win.
Defensa y Justicia may well wonder how they came away with nothing having dominated possession and creating a number of clear cut chances but it was the sensational strike from Droopy Gómez that earned the points. Huracán under the interim guidance of Néstor Apuzzo will now hope to appoint a permanent replacement for Juan Pablo Vojvoda and start moving in the right direction.
Estudiantes also picked up an important win beating Patronato 1-0 in La Plata.
Iván Gómez tapped in the only goal of the game during the first half but it was a deserved victory for Gabriel Milito’s side. El Pincha had chances to extend that lead and the frustration for Patronato boiled over with Christian Chimino seeing red for a studs-up challenge ten minutes from time. That led into a late brawl which produced two further red cards, Estudiantes’ Gonzalo Jara and Patronato’s Matías Escudero shown their marching orders.
Defensa y Justicia 0 – 1 Huracán
Estudiantes 1 – 0 Patronato