Friday and Saturday’s matches have combined to leave the top of the Primera División table looking decidedly congested, and it might well get even more so on Sunday. On Friday Banfield failed to draw level with Estudiantes at the top, and the leaders were then beaten on Saturday by Argentinos – who as a result move joint second with Banfield. Newell’s thumped Atlético Tucumán in Parque Independencia to move into fifth, only three points off the lead, and help their city rivals Central, who were beaten by Arsenal to briefly fall into the relegation zone. If Vélez beat Boca on Sunday in La Bombonera, they’ll go top. If that match is a draw, and San Lorenzo win the clásico with River, three points will separate top from 8th.
In Santa Fe on Friday night, the two goalkeepers were the principal reason the encounter between Colón and Banfield remained goalless – in the first half at any rate. Both Diego Pozo for the hosts and Cristian Lucchetti for the visitors made good saves in the first period, and the second didn’t live up to the expectations created by the first half.
Friday’s late match was much more entertaining. Just quarter of an hour in Carlos Luna fired Tigre into the lead with a superb turn and finish with the outside of his right foot which left Adrián Gabbarini helpless in the Independiente goal. Three minutes on, though, a daft tackle outside the box and a clever free kick led to Walter Acevedo smacking the ball low into the bottom corner to draw the hosts level. There were chances for both thereafter, but Carlos Matheu got the winner for Independiente eight minutes after the break from a corner, and Tigre’s miserable run continues.
Saturday began with a match that wasn’t crucial to the title, but could very well be for the Promedio. Huracán finally claimed a first win of the season, producing some fantastic play which brought back memories of the Clausura to heap yet more misery on Racing. Ricardo Caruso Lombardi might well step down after the clásico with Boca in the next (midweek) round of matches. Ezequiel Filipetto, Rodrigo Díaz (spectacularly) and Patricio Toranzo scored for Huracán, whilst Racing’s Sebastián Grazzini got a late consolation. On the hour, with the score at 2-0, Gastón Monzón saved a penalty from Racing’s Rubén Ramírez.
In the next match, Argentinos beat league leaders Estudiantes to make it four wins in a row and seven without defeat. The only goal of the game came after 28 minutes from defender Matías Caruzzo, when Estudiantes centre back Leandro Desábato played his opposite number in by failing to push up with the rest of his team-mates to play Argentinos’ attackers off side at a free kick. It’s now five years since Estudiantes won away to Argentinos, and of more immediate concern, the sides are only separated by a point at the top of the table.
Arsenal beat Central thanks to Franco Jara’s strike with three minutes to go. Central have only claimed one point from their last three matches, but some unexpected help arrived from their city rivals a couple of hours later.
Newell’s battered Atlético Tucumán, in the first ever official meeting between the two teams. The rosarinos ran out 3-0 winners and although Atlético had their moments of attacking, they snatched at them and the winning margin could have been more. Juan Manuel Insaurralde headed the opener ten minutes in, and Jorge Achucarro neatly stepped around a defender before chipping the ball over Lucas Ischuk in the away goal to make it 2-0, ten minutes after the break. With two minutes of normal time to go, substitute Lautaro Fórmica, who’d been on the pitch six minutes, smartly controlled a ball cannoning to him off a defender and stabbed it in from close range to complete the rout.