River Plate may have asserted their dominance in the Copa Libertadores but only goal difference separates Boca Juniors from their eternal rivals at the top of the Superliga after Gustavo Alfaro’s side put five past Arsenal at La Bombonera.
The future of Carlos Tevez has been under almost as much scrutiny as the coach’s yet it took just quarter of an hour for the Jugador del Pueblo to roll back the years and fire Boca in front early on Sunday morning, Lisandro López keeping a set-piece alive with a header back into danger and Tevez executing the overhead kick from close range.
Under Alfaro, Boca haven’t exactly been the most free scoring of sides but have compensated for that with a miserly defence. The visit of his old club Arsenal produced almost the opposite of that with the visitors creating a number of good opportunities.
Unable to find an equaliser however, Arsenal found themselves two-down just before half-time when Ramón Ábila surged through the heart of the defence and bull-dozed his way past goalkeeper Maximiliano Gagliardo.
The next goal was vital and straight after half-time, Juan Manuel García missed a glorious chance at one end only for Boca to go up the other and for full-back Frank Fabra to rifle in a third inside Gagliardo’s near post.
A superb goal-line save from Esteban Andrada preserved Boca’s lead until four minutes from time when Gastón Álvarez Suárez’s free-kick took a slight deflection en route to the net.
But Boca didn’t stop there. Mauro Zárate immediately ran clear to slide in a fourth and in stoppage time Fabra wrapped it up.
Boca join River on 24 points at the top and wait to see if Argentinos Juniors pushed ahead on Monday evening.
Boca Juniors 5 – 1 Arsenal de Sarandí
Racing Club missed the chance to close to within a point after being held to a 1-1 draw by Patronato in Paraná.
Eduardo Coudet made a number of changes after the midweek stalemate with Banfield. Nicolás Reniero, one of those to come in, coming within the width of the crossbar to scoring a spectacular opener before opening his Racing account with a firm header five minutes before half-time.
Unable to find a second, Patronato eventually found their way level, Gabriel Díaz bundling in a scrappy equaliser from a corner.
A share of the points leaves Patronato hovering just above the relegation zone while La Academia lose ground in the title race after consecutive draws.
Local rivals Independiente are hoping to claw their way back into contention and picked up a valuable three points under interim coach Fernando Berón with victory over San Lorenzo in Avellaneda.
The in-form Silvio Romero superbly breaking the deadlock just before the break, finding a pocket of space to control Juan Sánchez Miño’s low cross before accurately beating Sebastián Torrico.
The visitors, also under interim management, were level soon after the restart as former Racing forward Óscar Romero fired in a goal similar to that of Romero’s and at that point the result looked in the balance.
Fabricio Coloccini rattled the crossbar at one end before Romero burst into the San Lorenzo penalty area and a stray hand from Ramón Arias prompted referee Patricio Loustau to point to the spot. Romero scored his seventh of the season and could arguably have been awarded another penalty soon after.
A stoppage time flare-up saw Coloccini and Sebastián Palacios both sent off but it made no difference. For the first time in 13 years Independiente had beaten San Lorenzo in Avellaneda and with it climbed to twelfth, El Rojo’s game in hand able to still close to within four of the leaders, while for San Lorenzo a sixth defeat in seven means this next managerial appointment must be right.
Independiente 2 – 1 San Lorenzo
Patronato 1 – 1 Racing Club
Earlier in the Estadio Florencio Sola, Banfield came from behind to salvage a point in what was an entertaining, if a little surprising, 3-3 draw with Unión.
Walter Bou had already struck the post for the visitors when Jesús Dátolo arrived to head Banfield in front and the chances didn’t stop there. Unión had been knocking on the door and Jalil Elías drilled the ball into the roof of the net from close range to level it up before the break.
A fine Franco Troyansky header and a Gabriel Carabajal penalty before the hour mark put Unión firmly in command and given Banfield’s precarious position in the relegation table, home supporters were concerned.
Reinaldo Lenis pulled one back fifteen minutes from time and soon after Dátolo managed to rifle a shot past Sebastián Moyano. The three points that the Taladro so badly wanted didn’t follow but a damaging defeat was avoided and Banfield remain out of the bottom three for now.
Finally in Córdoba, Frank Kudelka returned to a heroes welcome to face old club Talleres but it wasn’t the happiest of reunions as his Newell’s Old Boys side suffered a 1-0 defeat.
Well below-par as they were in the midweek defeat to Gimnasia, Newell’s were indebted Alan Aguerre for not being behind sooner on Sunday. The goalkeeper saved a first half penalty from Nahuel Bustos but could do nothing to prevent Martín Payero’s wonderful winner. The midfielder had been on the pitch only a matter of seconds when running on to a loose ball outside the penalty area and finding the top corner.
Banfield 3 – 3 Unión
Talleres 1 – 0 Newell’s Old Boys