There’s very little to say about this one. On Thursday night, the champions of Argentina, who won the Apertura in such thrilling style as recently as December, and whose team is essentially unchanged since then, had a chance to bounce back from the 5-0 annhiliation given them by local rivals Banfield on Saturday. They failed to do it in a manner that can only be described as limp.
Nélson Benítez wasn’t playing following the Banfield match, and nor was José Sand, both victims of Ramón Cabrero’s changes, and Lautaro Acosta was also missing. All the same, few expected the Granate to be quite this bereft of ideas. Against Cuenca, visitors from a much smaller footballing nation whose best players are Argentines bought from clubs in their home country’s lower divisions, Lanús were just pathetic.
Only Sebastián Blanco gave the hosts’ attack any real impetus, and it was a sign of Lanús’s poor performance that Diego Valeri, who may be starting to wish he’d gone to Inter when he had the chance in January, missed a sitter in the first half. Valeri started the second half much better, looking like he could drive the young players around him to victory, but seven minutes after the break he went down with a knee injury, and had to be substituted for Adrián Peralta.
The rest of the match was characterised by high balls and very little football. Lanús, despite the performance, actually top their group still, with Cuenca behind them on goal difference, but in the immediate future Valeri’s injury might be more of a concern as they continue their search for a little consistency…