With so many players missing the opportunity for an unlikely match winner to emerge for River Plate was there and on Saturday evening in Mendoza academy youngster Federico Girotti came off the bench to snatch all three points from Godoy Cruz.
The 21-year-old has been on the pitch less than a minute when his diving header met the left wing cross of Matías Suárez to break the deadlock.
River still had to survive the remaining quarter of an hour and were indebted to back-up goalkeeper Enrique Bologna after the 38-year-old kept out Tomás Badaloni’s penalty.
A trip to Banfield next Friday for River looks as though it may already dictate who claims top spot from Group 3.
Godoy Cruz 0 – 1 River Plate
Racing Club meanwhile are already on the cusp of giving up on the Copa Liga Profesional after a third straight defeat led manager Sebastián Beccacece to say that the kids will play in the domestic competition while they focus on their upcoming Copa Libertadores last 16 clash with Flamengo.
Arsenal were the visitors to Avellaneda and a clever training ground free-kick routine saw former Independiente striker Lucas Albertengo slot in an early opener.
As they have in their previous losses Racing dominated possession and created chances but rather than find the net found themselves two-down, Jhonatan Candia barging his way through to double Arsenal’s lead.
Somehow Racing were still unable to score and as frustration boiled over captain Lisandro López was sent off in stoppage time. A trip to Tucumán next Thursday requires a positive result if Racing are to progress.
Racing Club 0 – 2 Arsenal
Earlier, Newell’s Old Boys kickstarted their campaign with a 4-2 win away to Lanús.
Disappointing defeats to Talleres and Boca had left La Lepra on the brink of an early exit yet a revitalised performance assisted by some abject Lanús defending saw Newell’s return to Rosario with their first points.
An unmarked Fabricio Fontanini headed Newell’s into a first half lead and Lanús’ failure to respond after the break allowed Sebastián Palacios to double the advantage on the counter and Santiago Gentiletti to add number three.
José Sand reduced the deficit only for further absent defending to give Maxi Rodríguez the perfect anniversary gift, tapping in from close range 21 years after his Newell’s debut.
The ageless Sand scored his second in injury time but it was only a consolation for Lanús, who despite knocking out São Paulo in the Copa Sudamericana, are facing a battle to reach the Fase Campeonato.
Lanús 2 – 4 Newell’s Old Boys
While unbeaten San Lorenzo already close on their place in the next round after a routine win over Aldosivi in Mar del Plata.
A quick start at the Estadio José María Minella saw Federico Gattoni head Los Cuervos in front and Nacho Piatto swiftly double the lead.
A goalkeeping error allowed Mariano Peralta Bauer to make it three before another of San Lorenzo’s academy products Alexander Díaz made it four just after the break.
Aldosivi pulled one back through Emanuel Iñiguez and then had defender Mario López sent off leaving a comfortable final 25 minutes for the visitors.