Lanús have taken a small step towards the Copa Sudamericana final after securing a 1-0 win over Vélez Sarsfield in Liniers last night. A first half of goalkeeping heroics and errors ultimately decided a tight first leg and leaves Vélez with much to do next week at La Fortaleza.
The usually dependable Cristian Tarragona will look back on a night to forget after his penalty miss for Vélez proved so costly. Lanús goalkeeper Lautaro Morales had conceded the spot kick, kicking Ricardo Centurión in his efforts to block a shot, but the impressive 21-year-old got down well to stop Tarragona’s effort and it proved decisive.
Soon after Pedro De La Vega floated a pass in behind the Vélez defence and when Morales’ opposite number Lucas Hoyos got caught in two minds whether to come and collect or hold back his hesitation allowed Nicolás Orsini to square for José Sand to tap into an unguarded net.
Only an astonishing goalline headed clearance before the break from Pablo Galdames denied Lanús a second. A goal that perhaps wouldn’t have reflected the balance of play but would have put Lanús firmly in the driving seat.
Guarded against conceding another away goal but needing a spark in attack Mauricio Pellegrino brought on Thiago Almada and Luca Orellano. Vélez saw plenty of the ball and threatened on occasion with Morales called into action and Tarragona scooping a good chance over the bar.
Whether home or away Lanús’ defence always seem to give away chances but Vélez must be far better next week to overturn the result and clinch their place in the final.