Colón still out in front of Group A while Vélez take control of Group B (ROUND 8 HIGHLIGHTS)

There are still five matches remaining in the first phase of the Copa De La Liga and while Vélez Sarsfield have opened up a three-point lead at the top of Group B it is only really Colón, with their seven-point lead in Group A, that look almost certain to secure a spot in the next stage.

That despite the Sabalero dropping points this weekend with a goalless draw at home with Argentinos Juniors. Even Pulga Rodríguez on this occasion couldn’t inspire Colón to victory.

Yet it didn’t really matter with those chasing in Group A almost all failing to capitalise.

Banfield were struck with 18 positive Covid-19 cases within the squad and so manager Javier Sanguinetti was forced to lean on his academy players even more than usual. Things didn’t look good when Juan Apaolaza strike gave Estudiantes the lead after 20 minutes and immediately after Agustín Rogel guided in a second.

Without so many first team players Banfield looked short of ideas and were heading for defeat until a quick-fire double with less than a quarter of an hour remaining. Luciano Lollo headed one back and from an almost identical free-kick just after youngster Ramiro Enrique nodded the Taladro level.

River Plate were once again held by a compact, defensive unit as Arsenal secured a point with a goalless draw in Sarandí.

For all of River’s possession they failed to break down their opponents and even after Arsenal saw Brian Farioli sent off in the 75th minute they held firm.

It was bad news for Racing Club too as Juan Antonio Pizzi watched his side suffer a 4-2 defeat to Godoy Cruz at the Cilindro.

A terrible first half allowed Cristian Colmán to score a brace and put the visitors in control. Under mounting pressure in the second half a defensive mistake gifted Tomás Chancalay a goal back and at that point a Racing comeback couldn’t be ruled out.

Tomás Badaloni had other ideas and the 20-year-old’s stunning left-footed strike restored the advantage. Darío Cvitanich came off the bench to pull Racing close again but in stoppage time Sebastián Lomonaco ran clear on the counter to lob Gabriel Arias and seal victory.

Central Córdoba slipped out of the top four after a 1-0 defeat to Platense, Franco Baldassarra scoring the only goal fifteen minutes from time.

And so San Lorenzo were the main beneficiaries from all these slips. Back-to-back wins for the Ciclón push Diego Dabove’s side to within a point of the top four and ahead of a crucial Copa Libertadores playoff against Santos, San Lorenzo might be starting to find a little form.

Rosario Central were the visitors to the Nuevo Gasómetro on Friday and the in-form Franco Di Santo gave San Lorenzo a first half lead. Deep in stoppage time the visitors lost their composure and after red cards to Lautaro Blanco and Luciano Vecchio, Ángel Romero slotted in a second to seal the points for San Lorenzo.

 

In Group B, Vélez Sarsfield have moved firmly into pole position after a convincing 4-1 win over Unión.

The astonishing seven-goal thrashing by Boca Juniors looking increasingly like just a bad night at the office for Vélez it has otherwise been an impressive start. Hernán De La Fuente poked them in front on Sunday evening and even after Franco Calderón forced a scrappy equaliser soon after, Vélez had too much in attack.

A beautifully worked second just before half time was drilled home by Agustín Bouzat and the introduction of Luca Orellano in the second half opened up Unión. The 21-year-old led the charge to slide in a third five minutes from time and immediately after played a key role in creating the fourth for Juan Lucero.

Lanús jumped into second with a 4-2 win over Gimnasia in La Plata.

Facundo Pérez tapped in the opener after good work from José Sand down the right only for a sensational Paul Scholes-esque first time volley at a corner from Lucas Licht to bring Gimnasia level.

A second from Pérez restored the lead and Matías Esquivel made things a little more comfortable just after the break.

An emphatic Pedro De La Vega goal ten minutes from time made absolutely certain and even another fine Licht finish from the edge of the box couldn’t help Gimnasia.

Boca Juniors claimed an important first win of the year at La Bombonera to go third against a Defensa y Justicia side themselves looking to go into the top four.

Going behind early to a suspiciously offside looking Walter Bou goal was a test for Miguel Ángel Russo’s side and while it wasn’t the most impressive performance, Boca demonstrated plenty of fight to turn it round.

Not least from captain Carlos Tevez who scrambled the equaliser in the first half and then set up the winner for Mauro Zárate just after the hour mark.

The win puts Boca level on points with Independiente after El Rojo suffered a 3-1 defeat to Talleres in Córdoba.

Two goals on the stroke of half time from Carlos Auzqui and Franco Fragapane put Talleres in control and although there were signs of a comeback when Angelo Martino was sent off the hosts and Sebastián Palacios pulled one back, La T put an end to any hope with a stoppage time Diego Valoyes penalty.

Germán Burgos still awaits a first win as Newell’s Old Boys manager after Huracán snatched a 2-2 draw in Rosario.

Franco Negri and Jerónimo Cacciabue goals either side of Nicolás Cordero’s header in the first half looked to be sending La Lepra to an important three points. But their somewhat negative approach invited pressure and eventually Huracán found their equaliser, Cristián Nuñez firing past Alan Aguerre four minutes from time.

Atlético Tucumán came from behind to score two late goals via the head of substitute Javier Toledo to defeat Patronato in Junín following Marcelo Herrera’s early opener.

And Patronato remain bottom of Group B but picked up a first win of the season defeating Aldosivi 2-0 in the weekend’s ‘inter-zonal’ clash.

Fernando Gago’s side ended the game with nine men as goals from Oliver Benítez and in added time Lautaro Comas handed Patronato a morale boosting victory.