Next week’s Copa Libertadores last 16 is Boca Juniors’ priority right now but Miguel Ángel Russo will still feel the side selected should have been able to avoid defeat to Lanús at La Bombonera. Instead a fine first half from the visitors inspired by Pedro De La Vega was enough to give El Granate a vital victory in Group 4.
The 19-year-old had missed one clear chance when he delivered a pin-point diagonal cross in behind the Boca backline that allowed Nicolás Orsini to poke the ball past Esteban Andrada.
Orsini, who has already proved to be the hero in the Copa Sudamericana, doubled the lead before the break pouncing on an error by Carlos Zambrano after the Peruvian failed to deal with De La Vega’s hopeful ball over the top.
Boca improved after the break and could have had a penalty soon after the restart when Alexis Pérez’s arm appeared to deflect Sebastián Villa’s goal-bound shot over the crossbar but in truth it was a lacklustre effort from the home side who clearly missed Eduardo Salvio and Carlos Tevez.
The introduction of Edwin Cardona improved matters but Ramón Ábila’s scrambled goal five minutes from time couldn’t set up a late comeback. The increasingly impressive Lautaro Morales in the Lanús goal held firm and Luis Zubeldía’s side climbed to two points behind Boca in the group. Talleres could all but seal their place in the Fase Campenato with a win over Newell’s on Monday but should La Lepra pick up the points, the group will be wide open with two rounds remaining.
Boca Juniors 1 – 2 Lanús
River Plate are also in Libertadores action this week but edged closer to a place in the next round with a 2-0 win over Banfield at the Estadio Florencio Solá.
A poor first half should have seen Marcelo Gallardo’s side behind when Leonardo Ponzio gifted the home side a penalty for handball only for former River defender Luciano Lollo to blast the spot kick high over the crossbar.
And it proved costly for a Banfield side that had won every game before Friday evening. Nacho Fernández scrambled the opening goal on the hour mark and a powerful Robert Rojas header made certain.
There was still time before the final whistle for River’s Colombian forward Jorge Carrascal to petulantly get himself sent off and while it made no difference to the result, the 22-year-old clearly did himself no favours with Gallardo.
Banfield and River lead the way in Group 3 on nine points with Central desperate for a win over Godoy Cruz on Monday to keep their hopes alive.
Banfield 0 – 2 River Plate
And in Friday’s early kick off Unión took a step towards following Atlético Tucumán through with victory over Arsenal in Sarandí.
Jhonatan Candia gave Arsenal the lead but a goalkeeping error by Maximiliano Gagliardo gifted Juan Manuel García an equaliser and Arsenal continued to shoot themselves in the foot when Candia inadvertently flicked an in swinging corner into his own net.
Twenty minutes from time Unión extended their lead with 19-year-old Kevin Zenon producing the assist of the round with an outrageous back heel into the path of García.
The visitors had Leonel Bucca sent off soon after and although Mateo Carabajal pulled a goal back for Arsenal the hosts couldn’t salvage a point.
Atlético Tucumán are assured of their place in the Fase Campeonato, Racing Club are out of the running and Unión now have the upper hand over Arsenal in that battle for second.