Nothing could dampen the one-year anniversary celebrations of River Plate’s Copa Libertadores final win over Boca but San Lorenzo did their best to frustrate the Monumental on Sunday evening with an incredible 1-0 victory.
Pummelled for much of the 90 minutes by Marcelo Gallardo’s side, San Lorenzo snatched a fabulous goal through Adolfo Gaich and then managed to hold on for victory, in large part thanks to River spurning two penalty chances.
With results elsewhere River were set to go top of the Superliga overnight with victory and the Millonarios started firmly on the front foot, pegging San Lorenzo back. And yet after quarter of an hour it was the visitors who struck first as Adolfo Gaich juggled a cross past Javier Pinola, cut inside Milton Casco and then thrashed the ball past Franco Armani.
It was just about all San Lorenzo mustered. It seemed only a matter of time before River turned things around as they did last week away to Newell’s.
Superliga leading scorer Rafael Santos Borré had an equaliser ruled out for a marginal offside call and the Colombian then saw a penalty saved by Sebastián Torrico.
River kept coming and a second penalty for a foul on Nicolás De La Cruz this time presented a chance to Juan Fernando Quintero. This time Torrico was beaten but the ball hit the inside of the post and bounced across the face of goal to safety.
As frustrations boiled over Exequiel Palacios was sent off, departing in tears and what will likely be his final game at the Monumental, and De La Cruz joined him for a late challenge on Óscar Romero. Even with nine, River piled forward yet couldn’t find an equaliser.
River Plate 0 – 1 San Lorenzo
Boca Juniors also missed their chance to go clear at the top after a 1-0 defeat away to Rosario Central.
Sebastián Ribas poked in the only goal after 17 minutes and although best sides had chances neither could find the net. Esteban Andrada proved why he has been the best goalkeeper in Argentina over the past year with a string of first half saves and as the game went on Boca increased the pressure.
Eduardo Salvio hitting the post and Franco Soldano’s follow up being blocked on the line, the closest Boca came to an equaliser before having Nicolás Capaldo sent off in stoppage time.
Boca remain firmly in the title race yet it was a disappointing end to a disappointing year which signals the end of the road for manager Gustavo Alfaro. Club presidential elections were ongoing during the game and the new regime will bring in a new coach, new ideas and new players with the hope of producing a far brighter 2020 at La Bombonera.
Rosario Central 1- 0 Boca Juniors
Central have managed to lift themselves away from the relegation zone with their improved form and while Gimnasia remain rock bottom, Diego Maradona’s side earned a vital win over rivals Central Córdoba.
Without a win in La Plata even since the Maradona-Inspired upturn, Gimnasia got off to a terrible start as Joao Rodríguez slotted Central Córdoba in front.
Leandro Contín headed the home side level shortly after half time and and tapped in his second fifteen minutes from time to send Maradona, his staff and supporters into delirium. An emotional Diego could barely contain himself at full-time and although his future at the club is dependent on president Gabriel Pellegrino, El Lobo remain a long way from safety regardless.
Godoy Cruz are fortunate that this season relegation is not a danger as there has been no side as bad as El Tomba during the opening half of the current campaign.
Defensa y Justicia were the latest side to have the better of Godoy Cruz. Héctor Martínez rifling in a deserved opener before the break and Neri Cardozo smashing a second from close range to wrap up the points.