Vélez Sarsfield appeared to have rediscovered form at just the right time and Sunday’s victory over Argentinos Juniors fires Gabriel Heinze’s side up to third, leading the chasing pack in the 2021 Copa Libertadores spots.
A goal-shy spell ended hopes of a title challenge but had threatened to derail Vélez’s top four aspirations but the addition of Ricardo Centurión in January is now beginning to yield results.
The troublesome winger created both goals in Liniers as Vélez deservedly beat an Argentinos Juniors side that have crashed since the break.
Centurión’s pace in behind and simple cut-back left Maxi Romero with the simplest of finishes five minutes before half time and a one-sided second 45 minutes should have seen the home side comfortably further in front.
Eventually the second goal came, Centurión slipping in Thiago Almada and the youngster cooly slotting the ball pasts Daniel Sappa.
Miguel Torrén struck the crossbar with a free-kick late on with what would have been a consolation for Argentinos Juniors but the better side took the points and Vélez are well placed now for a strong Copa showing and a potential top four finish.
Vélez Sarsfield 2 – 0 Argentinos Juniors
Lanús are level on points with Vélez but a fourth consecutive draw after the visit of Estudiantes has left El Granate in the congested pack of teams battling over Libertadores qualification.
A towering Marcelino Moreno gave Lanús a second half lead only for Nazareno Colombo to swiftly cancel out, the defender’s shot from an acute angle beating Agustín Rossi at his near post.
Estudiantes came close to snatching all three points when Mateo Retegui hit the woodwork but it ended all square.
Earlier in Mar del Plata, San Lorenzo responded well from the departure of Diego Monarriz as manager and secured a 3-1 win over Aldosivi.
Bruno Pittón headed his seventh goal of the season early on and soon after the half time break Adolfo Gaich fizzed a shot under goalkeeper Luciano Pocrnjic to double the lead.
Facundo Bertoglio pulled a goal back for Aldosivi but Óscar Romero sealed the win with a stunning free-kick in stoppage time. San Lorenzo will now look to appoint Monarriz’s replacement and push on for top four place during the Copa.
Finally in Rosario, Central moved into the group of side on 36 points pushing for the top four with a 3-1 win over Arsenal.
Marco Ruben, who was yet to find the net since his return to the club before Sunday, struck a hat-trick. A penalty on the stroke of half time, a wonderful deft finish soon after the restart and an instinctive volley put Central firmly in control.
Juan Manuel García pulled one back for the visitors but Central celebrated another victory in the Gigante de Arroyito.