Boca & Independiente play out dull draw, Racing held by Atlético Tucumán, Defensa y Justicia ease past Talleres & a six-goal thriller in Banfield (VIDEO)

It may have been the game of the weekend on paper but the clásico between Boca Juniors and Independiente on Sunday night was anything but a classic. Not that the stakes weren’t high with Boca keen to keep pace with River Plate at the top and Independiente seeking an early boost to Lucas Pusineri’s tenure yet with Juan Román Riquelme watching on with guest Ricardo Bochini there was none of the magic associated with the two great playmakers.

Boca started brightly enough but the game turned after 21 minutes when Carlos Izquierdoz was shown a second yellow card for the slightest of touches on Silvio Romero as the Superliga’s leading scorer got the wrong side of the defender.

For the remainder of the first half an Independiente victory looked almost inevitable. Marcos Díaz, in for the injured Esteban Andrada, made two acrobatic stops to deny Leandro Fernández and Lucas Romero and when the Boca goalkeeper was beaten Alan Franco’s header came back off the post.

Independiente however lost that momentum after the break and Boca looked equally dangerous in what was a scrappy second 45 minutes.

With quarter of an hour still remaining Pablo Pérez levelled things up with an awful studs up challenge on Jorman Campuzano and with interest from former club Newell’s Old Boys there is a sense that the former Boca midfielder may have let Independiente down for the final time.

Neither side could muster a winner and while relieved not to suffer defeat neither will be satisfied with a point. Boca are three points behind River at the top and Independiente missed a great opportunity in La Bombonera.

Boca Juniors  0 – 0  Independiente

Racing Club also missed a chance to close the gap after being held to a 1-1 draw by Atlético Tucumán in Avellaneda.

Sebastián Beccacece never got his ideas across at Independiente in the first half of the season and will clearly need more time at Racing after a disappointing first game in charge. Mauricio Martínez poked in the opener late on in the first half but La Academia failed to build on their advantage.

Javier Toledo equalised from close range on the hour mark and the visitors came close to snatching the points when Gabriel Arias was forced into a double save.

The two sides now sit a little off the pace with Racing perhaps sensing that their title defence is slipping away. Yet La Academia have Copa Libertadores football to look forward to this year and will anticipate improvements over the coming weeks.

Racing Club  1 – 1  Atlético Tucumán

And so it was left to nearer the bottom of the table for the goals and excitement on Sunday.

Defensa y Justicia had been awful in front of goal this season and seen manager Mariano Soso resign just days before their opener against Talleres over the loss of important first team players. Yet under the interim guidance of Pablo De Muner, El Halcón recorded their best win of the season putting four past the visitors.

A wonderfully worked goal finished by Marcelo Benítez gave Defensa y Justicia a half time lead and when Nicolás Tripicchio doubled the advantage soon after the restart, a somewhat surprising victory looked on the cards.

Just what an impact the close season would have had on the players was uncertain but after 66 minutes the Talleres defence was sliced through once more and Guido Mainero nodded in number three.

Leonardo Godoy headed a goal back for La T but there was still time for Juan Lucero to tap in another for the home side and seal a morale boosting victory. Hernán Crespo has already been confirmed the new manager and will be feeling a little better about the daunting task ahead.

Defensa y Justicia  4 – 1  Talleres

Banfield and Patronato both remain in relegation danger yet no one wuold have predicted the back-and-forth six-goal thriller that played out at the Estadio Florencio Sola.

Patronato still ensconced in the bottom three took the lead midway through the first half through a stunning Lautaro Comas volley but a Banfield side, shy of goals and missing players responded well.

Alexis Maldonado tapped the home side level shortly after half time before striker Junior Arias put El Taladro in front.

Patronato took advantage of some weak defending to come back and pull level thanks to Cristian Tarragona but Luciano Gómez’s skidding long range effort ten minutes from time looked to have won it for Banfield.

Until deep in stoppage time when Comas was tripped by youngster Franco Quinteros and Christian Chimino fired in a 95th minute penalty. Patronato remain among the favourites for the drop and could have done with victory over a rival but it remains to be seen just how important a point might be come May.

Banfield  3 – 3  Patronato