They remain a long way from safety but after three straight defeats Diego Maradona tasted victory as Gimnasia manager for the first time, breathing life into the club’s slim survival hopes.
A 4-2 victory over struggling Godoy Cruz in Mendoza after the hosts were reduced to nine men means Gimnasia picked up their first three points of the season, leapfrogged El Tomba in the table and at least took the first steps to closing the gap to safety in the promedio.
Another warm welcome for Maradona on the road was made even sweeter by Leandro Contín, the forward rifling in a shot from distance with a minute on the clock. And when Víctor Ayala doubled the lead with a free-kick, Gimnasia appeared to be entering the uncharted territory of victory.
Unable to hold on until half time Juan Brunetta immediately pulled a goal back for Godoy Cruz and even after Joaquín Varela was sent off for the hosts just after the break, Brunetta’s second pulled the ten men level.
Maradona couldn’t believe his side had thrown away their lead but fortune soon swung back in their favour. Godoy Cruz were reduced to nine when Miguel Jacquet was shown a second yellow card and following the incident that saw the Paraguayan walk, Ayala bent in his second superb free-kick.
Back in front against nine men, Matías García dashed clear on the counter to seal it four minutes from time and with sparked wild celebrations.
Godoy Cruz 2 – 4 Gimnasia
San Lorenzo had hoped to go top with Central Córdoba visiting the Nuevo Gasómetro but they too were undone by a red card and a side scrapping for survival.
Already feeling the absence of the injured Fabricio Coloccini in defence, San Lorenzo had Gianluca Ferrari sent off after 20 minutes for pulling back Jonathan Herrera and it was Herrera who broke the deadlock ten minutes later, slotting past Nicolás Navarro.
The home side were furious with referee Néstor Pitana’s officiating as half time came round yet even with ten men found themselves level shortly after the hour mark. Bruno Pittón arriving in the box to thump in his fifth goal of the season, the left-back remarkably the Superliga’s leading scorer.
Having forced their way level, San Lorenzo were soon behind again as Lisandro Alzugaray raced away on the counter and clipped a delightful finish over Navarro.
And if Alzugaray’s finish was good, Central Córdoba’s third was even better. A quick one-two on the edge of the box was worked back into the path of Marcelo Meli and the former Boca and Racing midfield smashed the ball into the top corner.
The third all but ended the contest but Alzugaray made certain with his second and as if to prove it wasn’t their day, Pittón managed to hit both posts with an injury time shot.
Three defeats in four have slowed San Lorenzo’s progress while Central Córdoba climb out of the relegation zone with a win.
San Lorenzo 1 – 4 Central Córdoba
Aldosivi should perhaps be the side most concerned by their form as Racing Club were able to advantage in Avellaneda picking up a 2-0 win that lifted La Academia to sixth and kept the visitors in the drop zone.
Matías Rojas’ devilish cross on the half hour mark was emphatically headed in by Jonathan Cristaldo and the harshest of handball decisions allowed Lisandro López to double the lead from the penalty spot during the second half.
Argentinos Juniors went level on points with Boca Juniors at the top after coming from behind to defeat Arsenal in La Paternal.
Ezequiel Cérica pounced on a rebound to put the visitors in front early but the lead lasted only a few minutes as a deflected Francis Mac Allister shot brought Argentinos back level.
Both sides had chances and as Los Bichos increased the pressure, Gabriel Hauche headed the winner fifteen minutes from time.
Saturday’s game to avoid was in La Plata where Huracán held Estudiantes to a goalless draw. Saúl Salcedo did glance a header against the post for the visitors but there was an otherwise paucity of chances at either end leaving perhaps the most noteworthy event to 16-year-old Dario Sarmiento, who made his Estudiantes debut.