What was a race to the title for Boca Juniors is now becoming a crawl with the Argentinean giants struggling to seal the Superliga deal
Winning only five of the last eleven fixtures of last season, Boca Juniors slightly stumbled towards the title aided by their rivals’ inability to take advantage. One year on and Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side are set to defend their crown but are again doing so in less than impressive fashion.
Last weekend’s vital last-gasp win over Talleres was supposed to end the title race but an error-strewn display that lacked any kind of creativity on Saturday evening against Defensa y Justicia, capped off by defender Lisandro Magallán gifting a winner to Fernando Márquez made matters interesting.
Defensa y Justicia’s first ever victory over Boca gave reason to cheer for El Halcón but also provided hope to San Lorenzo, who had battled to victory over Independiente in their midweek game in-hand.
That feeling however lasted a little more than 12 hours as Claudio Biaggio’s side were up early on Sunday to host Godoy Cruz and were expected to close the gap to five points but instead conceded that many goals in an extraordinary defeat.
Talleres could at least make back the ground lost last weekend against an injury-hit Independiente, couldn’t they?
No, unfortunately for La T one of those not missing for El Rojo was captain Martín Campaña and the Uruguayan gave a reminder of just why he is one of the top goalkeepers in South America. A string of saves denied Frank Kudelka’s plucky title hopefuls and Independiente sprang a somewhat undeserved 2-0 win.
The result pushed Independiente back into the 2019 Copa Libertadores qualification places and it was another outstanding goalkeeping display elsewhere that saw to that.
Jorge Sampaoli was back in the stands at Racing Club’s Cilindro on Sunday evening and while Lautaro Martínez was the obvious target of the Argentina manager’s attention, it was River Plate keeper Franco Armani who will have really left a mark.
The 31-year-old is a little unfortunate not to have been considered by Argentina earlier given his performances for Atlético Nacional en route to lifting the Copa Libertadores but Armani’s move to River has automatically raised his profile and on Sunday was worth three points to Los Millonarios.
— Jair Durand (@JairDurand) April 9, 2018
River have climbed into the Copa Sudamericana places with that fourth straight win and with Godoy Cruz being the weekend’s big winner now up in second, competition for qualification to 2019 continental competition is fierce with five matches remaining.
Superliga Round 22 results
Tigre 2-0 Gimnasia
Argentinos Juniors 3-1 Unión
Temperley 2-2 Lanús
Rosario Central 2-1 Belgrano
Colón v Vélez – abandoned
Banfield 3-0 Olimpo
Boca Juniors 1-2 Defensa y Justicia
San Lorenzo 0-5 Godoy Cruz
San Martín 0-1 Huracán
Atlético Tucumán 1-1 Newell’s Old Boys
Talleres 0-2 Independiente
Racing Club 0-2 River Plate
Arsenal 1-1 Patronato
Estudiantes 0-2 Chacarita Juniors