For many the focus is on continental competition but with the Copa Diego Maradona now into the final group stage and teams battling for a place for a place in the final every point is priceless.
In Group A of the Fase Campeonato, those sides still in with a shot of being crowned champions after qualifying from the initial group stage, only Huracán picked up three points on the opening weekend. That came against Independiente with El Globo coming from two down to snatch something of a controversial 3-2 win.
An Ezequiel Navarro own goal and one for Nicolás Messiniti put Independiente’s reserves in control but Thomas Ortega’s red card after quarter of an hour changed the game. Huracán took control and when Ayrton Costa put the ball into his own net during first half stoppage time, the comeback was on. Santiago Hezze levelled it up and fifteen minutes from time Andrés Chávez looking a shade offside nicked the winner.
While Independiente’s focus is on Thursday’s Copa Sudamericana quarter-final second leg against Lanús, Boca Juniors and River Plate also had their minds elsewhere ahead of big Libertadores games.
A scrappy late Facundo Pons goal earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw at La Bombonera after Diego González appeared to have won it for Boca with his first since joining the club on the half hour mark.
And River also saw a lead slip with Maxi Coronel turning in from close range to earn Argentinos Juniors a well deserved draw in La Paternal.
Marcelo Gallardo’s side led from the penalty spot after Rafael Santos Borré had been brought down by Lucas Chaves and following River’s pretty dreadful run of spot kicks, Julián Álvarez made no mistake. Group A remains wide open and while River are in a great position to progress past Nacional to the Libertadores semi-finals this week, Nacho Fernández picking up an injury on Sunday will be a concern.
Group B was a little clearer with Banfield, Gimnasia and Talleres all kicking off their Campeonato group with wins.
Atlético Tucumán were the only side to win all six initial group games but were undone by an impressive Banfield performance.
Giuliano Galoppo and Agustín Fontana put El Taladro into a commanding first half lead and even after Martín Payero was sent off soon after the break, Banfield held firm. Atlético would see Marcelo Ortiz given his marching orders late on to level things up and there was no way back for the home team.
Marcelo Weigandt and Nicolás Contín gave Gimnasia a 2-0 win over Colón in Santa Fe while Talleres surprised San Lorenzo at the Nuevo Gasómetro.
Talleres were good value for their win but needed a spot of luck to make a breakthrough as Víctor Salazar inadvertently scored an own goal. Diego Valoyes doubled the lead guiding in Tomás Pochettino’s quickly taken free kick and when Ángel Romero missed a late penalty for San Lorenzo, it was clear that it was to be La T’s evening.
For those sides that didn’t qualify from the first round the Fase Complementacion still provides a route to the 2022 Copa Sudamericana.
Rosario Central made light work of Patronato with a brace from youngster Alan Marinelli, one from the influential Emiliano Vecchio and a late fourth courtesy of Diego Zabala.
A largely second string Lanús eleven beat Aldosivi in Mar del Plata. A gorgeous Matías Esquivel strike and a Lucas Vera penalty rendered Lautaro Rinaldi’s late goal nothing more than a consolation.
And Defensa y Justicia won 3-1 away to Unión. Gabriel Hachen, Washington Camacho and Miguel Merentiel with the goals for the visitors.
While over in Group B, Vélez Sarsfield came from behind late on to snatch a 2-1 win over Racing Club. Tiago Banega appeared to have won it for La Academia in the 80th minute only for two goals in two minutes from Cristian Tarragona and Lucas Janson to turn things round.
A splendid Jerónimo Cacciabue goal gave Newell’s Old Boys a 1-0 win over Estudiantes and it ended all square between Central Córdoba and Godoy Cruz in Santiago del Estero. A Hugo Vera Oviedo penalty for the hosts immediately being cancelled out by Martín Ojeda.