The Copa Diego Maradona ended in penalty heartbreak for Banfield but the beaten finalists put that behind them on Wednesday evening to defeat Vélez Sarsfield in the playoff for a Copa Sudamericana 2022 spot.
Vélez, who had won the Complementación phase of the Copa Diego Maradona by defeating Rosario Central, and are in this year’s Copa Libertadores were undone by a Banfield that continue to impress.
A wayward backpass from Matías de los Santos ruthlessly punished by Luciano Pons after only quarter of an hour gave Banfield the perfect start and when Juan Álvarez crossed for Pons to double the lead soon after the Taladro looked to be cruising.
However, Vélez reacted well with Lucas Janson neatly finishing to reduce the deficit and set up a perfectly balanced second half.
It didn’t take long after the restart for Vélez to get back level and they did so in spectacular fashion. Luca Orellano, who has been producing the same type of goals for the youth sides in recent years, picked up the ball on halfway and drove at full-back Franco Quinteros before cutting inside and bending a perfectly placed left-footed finish inside the far post.
Back from two-down and Vélez were now favourites. Banfield though didn’t surprise so many in reaching the Copa Diego Maradona by folding in such a manner in the 73rd minute Martín Payero’s corner found Alejandro Cabrera and the midfielder planted a header beyond Lucas Hoyos.
Vélez on this occasion couldn’t find a way back and Banfield held on for a fine win and their place in the 2022 Copa Sudamericana.