The semi-final lineup for the Copa Argentina is complete and as Lanús take on Central Córdoba de Santiago del Estero with the prize of possible Copa Libertadores qualification for the winners, Independiente’s crisis deepens with manager Sebastián Beccacece’s future in doubt.
A day after Andrés Roa saw his incorrect red card from the weekend prior rescinded, Independiente were left aggrieved by officiating once more. José Sand scored Lanús’ critical opening goal from an offside position and a late penalty claim was waved away by Néstor Pitana but the overriding truth for El Rojo was that the performance was again lacking quality.
A first half of few clear chances at either end was brought to life in stoppage time as a long ball forward in the direction of the offside Sand was calamitously dealt with by Alan Franco allowing the veteran centre forward to get in behind, hold off the desperate last-ditch challenge and poke the ball past Martín Campaña.
It was no secret that Independiente manager Beccacece was playing for his future with league form struggling and the Copa representing a final chance to still make the 2020 Libertadores. As a result El Rojo were improved after the break and began to assert some dominance over possession.
That didn’t translate to clear goal scoring opportunities, or at least not many. Juan Sánchez Miño headed over and Agustín Rossi produced a fine header to deny Roa but the Lanús goalkeeper was otherwise untested.
A Lanús penalty claim for a foul on Alexander Bernabei went unanswered and yet there was more controversy at the other end. An even stronger shout late on after Bernabei clearly pulled back on Cecilio Domínguez as the Paraguayan attempted to get on the end of cross sparked huge protests from the Independiente players. Pitana was unmoved.
And as the game moved into stoppage time with Independiente pushing forward, Lanús broke and substitute Luciano Abecasis fired past Campaña.
Lanús will play Central Córdoba in one semi with River Plate up against Estudiantes de Buenos Aires in the other. A place in the 2020 Libertadores awaits for the winner.