… Tigers. Estudiantes de La Plata visited Mendoza on Wednesday night to play their postponed match away to Godoy Cruz, needing a win to keep Copa Libertadores qualification in their own hands. They took the lead, but were pegged back in the second half and, deep into stoppage time, Godoy’s Iván Borghello got his second of the night to condemn Leonardo Astrada’s side to defeat. Estudiantes now have to hope Tigre don’t win the title on Sunday – if the Victoria side do the unthinkable, they’ll qualify. If they don’t, Estudiantes will do so by virtue of having a better points average in the qualification table.
Estudiantes rode their luck once or twice in the first half but by and large were the dominant side, finding particular joy down the left flank, where Juan Manuel Díaz, Estudiantes’ left back, was rampaging forward and causing Gabriel Vallés and Leonardo Sigali on the right side of Godoy Cruz’s defence some serious problems. Gastón Fernández, Enzo Pérez and Diego Galván all missed decent chances before their side took the lead.
The goal came thanks to another of Díaz’s bursts down the left, when he got right to the byline and cut back a centre at the perfect height for Ramón Lentini. The forward had acres of space, his marker having vacated him completely, and simply redirected the powerfully arrowed cross into the net from ten yards out with his head. It was the 19 year old’s first goal for Estudiantes’ first team.
In the second half Godoy came out looking like a different team though, and they equalised in the 55th minute through Borghello who scored on the turn. After that Estudiantes began to look distinctly nervous, whilst the hosts – desperate for a win themselves in their fight against relegation – weren’t even deterred when they were reduced to ten men with 28 minutes remaining. Striker Leandro Caruso tried a trick or two on the halfway line and got tangled up with Matías Sánchez. Referee Alejandro Sabino considered his foot to have been too high, and showed him a straight red – Godoy manager Diego Cocca was sent off for good measure, for contesting the decision.
El Tomba just kept going, though, riding the odd Estudiantes attack or corner, and got their reward late on. As Estudiantes pushed forward, a ball was launched out of the home defence which Borgello ran on to, beat the last defender and finished powerfully and high from the edge of the box past Mariano Andújar to give Godoy Cruz a 2-1 win.
The result means Estudiantes now need to hope that results among the top four go their way on the last weekend, and get a win themselves. If Tigre don’t emerge as title winners, Estudiantes will probably qualify for the Copa Libertadores at their expense, but if Tigre do lift the trophy, Estudiantes can’t get into the Copa.
I’ll update the league tables, in readiness for the final weekend, on Thursday night.