January’s Copa Libertadores semi-finals are clearly the priority but next Saturday’s Superclásico may well decide whether Boca Juniors or River Plate are heading to the Copa Diego Maradona final. Both sides won on Sunday to go level on points at the top of Group A and though Argentinos Juniors could yet join them, with two games remaining there is no margin for error.
Huracán were the visitors to La Bombonera and felt aggrieved by a disallowed goal when the game was still level but fell behind midway through the first half when Ramón Ábila tapped in from close range.
The visitors certainly posed more of a threat than Racing Club did in last week’s Libertadores quarter-final set were unable to find an equaliser before Ábila accurately found the corner against his former club.
Boca’s academy duo of Alan Varela and Exequiel Zeballos had particularly impressed and it was another of the young players, Agustín Obando who wrapped up the win late win. The 20-year-old winger bending a wonderful shot past Facundo Cambeses to make it three.
River Plate had to follow suit and had no trouble against an Arsenal side that rarely looked a danger in Avellaneda. Despite their dominance it only ended 2-1 and River face a nervous wait on a couple of injury concerns ahead of a hugely important January schedule.
Surprisingly it took until the 56th minute for Nacho Fernández to break the deadlock, pouncing on a rebound for the simplest of goals and when Matías Suárez lobbed in from 30 yards the result looked beyond doubt.
However, both left back options Fabrizio Angileri and Milton Casco both suffering what appeared to be hamstring injuries certainly took the shine off any win.
Jhonatan Candia pulled a goal back for Arsenal and though it made no difference, River’s focus on their forthcoming fixtures meant there was little to celebrate.
River play Boca at La Bombonera next Saturday just days before their Libertadores semi final first leg against Palmeiras and Boca host Santos.
In the Fase Complementacion, Racing responded to their limp Libertadores exit with a 6-1 demolition of Godoy Cruz at the Cilindro.
18-year-old Nahuel Ulariaga smashed the visitors in front and it remained that way until the break. While there was no reaction to the same situation at La Bombonera a few days prior, Racing emerged from the break determined to bounce back. Matías Rojas drilled in an equaliser from the edge of the box and soon after Lorenzo Melgarejo squeezed a second past goalkeeper Roberto Ramírez.
A fine solo goal from Melgarejo made it three before Godoy Cruz were reduced to ten men, Sebastián Lomónaco shown a straight red for a wild challenge.
Melgarejo completed his 20-minute hat-trick and there was still time for Rojas to hit a brace and Héctor Fértoli to head in a sixth.
The result means little with Racing’s Copa Diego Maradona involvement all but over already but a significant few weeks lie ahead as the club adjust to life after Diego Milito and find Sebastián Beccacece’s replacement.
Copa Sudamericana semi-finalists Defensa y Justicia may yet have something to cheer in the Copa Diego Maradona after moving top of Group A in the Fase Complementacion with a 2-1 win over Patronato.
An early double from Nicolás Leguizamón put Hernán Crespo’s side in control and although a defensive mix-up gifted Agustín Pastorelli a goal for Patronato before the half hour mark it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
Defensa y Justicia sit top of the group on seven points but could be joined by Rosario Central and Lanús on Tuesday.