A reaction was needed after the latest Copa Libertadores defeat to River Plate but there was none from Boca Juniors. Instead of joining Argentinos Juniors at the top of the table, Gustavo Alfaro’s side slipped to defeat in the aptly named Fortaleza to a Lanús side, unbeaten at home and now second in the Superliga.
One thing Boca have been this season is defensively sound having conceded only twice before Thursday evening yet Lisandro López lost José Sand after nine minutes to allow the 39-year-old striker to head in the opening goal completely unmarked.
The outstanding Marcelino Moreno, who created the opener for Sand, came close to a second with a deflected shot off the crossbar but Boca were themselves posing a threat.
Former Lanús star Eduardo Salvio drew a wonderful save from Boca loanee Agustín Rossi and soon after the winger was brought down on the edge of the box by Lautaro Valenti. The young defender was fortunate to only see yellow but Boca made the most of the situation, Mauro Zárate drawing the visitors level with a wonderful free-kick dinked over the wall and into the top corner.
Gustavo Alfaro needed his side to kick on after the break instead Boca were swiftly behind once again. An attack down the left released Nicolás Pasquini and the full-back’s low cross eluded everyone to allow Carlos Auzqui to tap in.
Boca’s lack of creativity laid bare in their attempt to comeback as just in the Superclásico, set-pieces seemed their best bet. Carlos Izquierdoz’s sending off late on added insult to injury and for Boca the end of the year couldn’t come quick enough. Alfaro’s time appears to be up and the club just need to remain as close to the top as possible before a thorough reassessment.
Lanús, two points off Argentinos Juniors, complete a surprise top two and Luis Zubeldía deserves enormous credit for turning things around. Whether El Granate can maintain this remains to be seen but when avoiding relegation was the initial target there will be few complaints at La Fortaleza.
Lanús 2 – 1 Boca Juniors
Vélez Sarsfield were hoping to put pressure on Argentinos Juniors at the top too but were unable to chalk up a seventh win in eight as Huracán held them to a goalless draw in Liniers.
Just as they were a few weeks ago when Defensa y Justicia nicked a 1-0 win at the Estadio José Amalfitani, Vélez were dominant and while they didn’t come away with nothing on this occasion it was two points dropped for Gabriel Heinze’s side.
Referee Néstor Pitana missed a glaring handball in the Huracán penalty area and after that the home side created a number of clear opportunities. Lucas Janson headed against the foot of the post, Leandro Fernández inches away from getting on the end of that Janson header then saw a point-blank effort saved by Antony Silva and Janson would again hit the woodwork as Vélez laid siege to the Huracán goal.
A winner never arrived and with a point Vélez had to settle for fifth, four points behind leaders Argentinos Juniors.
At the opposite end of the promedio table, Central Córdoba de Santiago del Estero twice surrendered a lead to allow Arsenal to claim a draw in Sarandí.
Lisandro Alzugaray fired the visitors into an early lead only to see it cancelled out soon after, Juan Kaprof’s lovely reverse pass setting up Gastón Álvarez Suárez for the equaliser.
The two sides traded chances and it was on the hour mark that Central Córdoba retook the lead, Jonathan Herrera shrugging off Fabio Pereyra to round Maximiliano Gagliardo and roll in the second.
A win would have been invaluable for the Ferrioviario but Kaprof nodded a second equaliser and with a share of the points, Central Córdoba remain in the drop zone.