On the day the US Federal Reserve announced an astonishing rate cut, things at the other end of the Americas also begin to look a bit less interesting. San Lorenzo met Tigre in the first match of the title-deciding triangular, and it was the Cuervo who came out on top, meaning that if they beat Boca Juniors at the weekend, the final match of the triple-header will be rendered meaningless.
The match began on the front foot, as both sides looked to press forward and get an early advantage against their opponents, with Aureliano Torres of San Lorenzo trading efforts with Tigre’s Leonel Altobelli. It was San Lorenzo, in the 18th minute, who took the lead when Santiago Solari centred from the left, and the ball was pushed away by Tigre ‘keeper Daniel Islas, straight into the path of Pablo Barrientos, who made no mistake.
Los Santos doubled their lead just two minutes later, when Barrientos turned provider, finding Gonzalo Bergessio alone in the area. The former Platense and Racing forward finished first time, and San Lorenzo had the cushion they desired. Before half time, it might have been 3-0; San Lorenzo centre back Nicolás Bianchi Arce headed against the crossbar. There was a flashpoint when Bergessio and Islas got upset with one another as referee Saúl Laverni was being lenient with the stoppages. At half time, though, it was a two-goal lead for Miguel Angel Russo’s men.
After the break, Tigre came out chasing the match and, though they lacked the imagination to find a way through, they did succeed in pushing San Lorenzo onto the back foot, and their own defence looked a lot more sure of themselves when called upon. Santiago Hirsig, on to replace Solari, shot over in a one-on-one with Islas which would have made it 3-0, and San Lorenzo began to inch their way back up the pitch.
With fourteen minutes of the ninety to go, Sebastián Rusculleda found Leandro Lázzaro in the box and the big man pulled Tigre back into the match with a strong header. After more than one chance to put the match beyond all doubt, Russo’s side were in for a nervy endgame. They sat back and looked to close the match out.
Four minutes into stoppage time, Islas clashed with another San Lorenzo player, when he punched Barrientos inside the penalty area. Replays showed that the ball was still in play, but Laverni, who’d been alerted to the punch by his assistant, didn’t realise this latter point. He sent Islas off (a further five minutes of stoppage time were subsequently played) but didn’t award the penalty.
A win for San Lorenzo, then, means that Tigre now have to hope for a Boca win when the Xeneize form the Boedo side’s next opposition on Saturday in El Cilindro. If San Lorenzo win that match, they’ll be champions – if it’s a draw, Boca will need to beat Tigre to claim the title, but El Matador’s chances will have been exhausted.