Unbeaten at home and looking to go clear at the top of the table, Lanús were firm favourites to enjoy the latest Clásico del Sur against relegation-threatened rivals Banfield but the Superliga never fails to surprise. Julián Carranza’s second half goal handed El Taladro an invaluable victory and potentially a parting gift for iconic coach Julio César Falcioni.
A game of few clear chances at La Fortaleza was settled shortly after half time when Inter Miami-bound Carranza held off Lautaro Valenti to fire past Agustín Rossi from close range.
Banfield had Renato Civelli sent off soon after and Lanús piled on pressure. Match winner last week against Huracán, Pedro De La Vega had the best opportunity but this time the teenage forward managed to miss the target from yards out.
Local bragging rights aside it was a missed chance for Lanús at the top, who remain at the summit on goal difference but with the door now open for Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Banfield were jubilant and eased relegation fears with victory yet it was tinged with sadness over Falcioni’s announcement. The title-winning coach only returned a few months ago but still struggling with his health admitted, “it’s my last clásico and maybe my last game.”
A meeting on Tuesday will determine whether Falcioni remains in charge until the end of the year before moving upstairs into a director role.
Lanús 0 – 1 Banfield
With Lanús’ defeat, the joint-leaders Argentinos Juniors knew victory would see them clear at the top but they too were stunned. San Lorenzo, still under the interim guidance of Diego Monarriz, swept aside the Bichos in the Nuevo Gasómetro to record only a second win in eight games.
Gonzalo Rodríguez, recalled to the starting eleven due to the suspension of Fabricio Coloccini, headed San Lorenzo in front after 20 minutes and soon after Adolfo Gaich rose between two defenders to deservedly double the advantage.
Ordinarily so good defensively, Argentinos Juniors were in disarray and a harsh handball decision against Miguel Torrén saw Ángel Romero make it three from the penalty spot before the break.
Not even San Lorenzo’s recent defending could lose this and instead El Ciclón held on for a clean sheet and a morale boosting victory.
San Lorenzo 3 – 0 Argentinos Juniors
Independiente are also under interim management and Fernando Berón’s unbeaten tenure continued against Godoy Cruz guiding El Rojo to a first ever league win in Mendoza.
Santiago García headed the home side into a half-time lead but an improved Independiente turned this around after the restart.
A burst into the penalty area close to the hour mark from Juan Sánchez Miño, the full-back’s cross took a deflection and was heading into the net off goalkeeper Juan Bolado when Nicolás Figal’s diving header made certain beneath the cross-bar.
Soon after Figal was again involved, catching an elbow off Tomás Cardona that saw the Godoy Cruz defender sent off and gifting a penalty to Independiente. The Superliga’s leading scorer Silvio Romero made no mistake and with it the result never looked in doubt.
Berón will remain in charge until the end of the year and Independiente aren’t badly placed. Up to ninth and still with a game in-hand, El Rojo could only be four points off the top.
Godoy Cruz 1 – 2 Independiente
And close to the foot of the promedio table, Central Córdoba picked up a priceless victory over Patronato in Santiago del Estero.
The home side twice came from behind before winning it a minute from time with a second penalty of the game.
Cristian Tarragona slotted Patronato ahead after 27 minutes having already clattered the crossbar yet only a minute into the second half a superb Jonathan Bay strike levelled things up.
Tarragona’s second of the game would restore Patronato’s lead only for Jonathan Herrera to equalise soon after from the penalty spot.
The relegation ‘six-pointer’ was heading for a draw, a result that helped neither side, until Patronato saw Dardo Miloc shown a second yellow card and then Gabriel Díaz inexplicably punch Matías Nani at an 89th minute corner. Referee Andrés Merlos spotted it, Díaz joined Miloc for an early bath and Joao Rodríguez tucked in the winner.
With the result Patronato remain in the drop zone and Central Córdoba climb to safety. There are undoubtedly plenty more twists and turns in the relegation battle but just how significant could such a result be come the end of the season?