The Copa de la Liga returned this weekend and it did not disappoint with great games, goals, upsets and a bit of controversy: business as usual in Argentina!
2021 and 2020 champions face off
In the tie of the round, last years’ Copa de la Liga champions Colón faced the 2020 Champions Boca Juniors at a packed-out La Bombonera. The visitors nearly took the lead in the 2nd minute as a Luis Miguel Rodríguez header was cleared off the line by Carlos Izquierdoz.
It was a returning hero in Darío Benedetto who headed in Sebastián Villa’s cross on the 23rd minute to give Boca the lead. Benedetto’s goal was a trademark header and one which his fans had been used to seeing from him in his first spell with the club.
Sebastián Battaglia had the better of the match with 57% possession, but his side were left frustrated as Colón levelled the score on the 86th minute from their first corner of the game. Facundo Farías’s corner was flicked on by Rodríguez for Lucas Beltrán to bundle in to share the points at 1-1.
Upset for Champions River
River Plate suffered a big upset as they lost 1-0 to Atlético Unión, despite Marcelo Gallardo’s side having 74% possession and 628 passes compared to Unión’s 217. Mauro Luna’s 58th minute penalty proved decisive after Franco Armani brought down Juan Ignacio Nardoni in the box.
After the game Gallardo questioned the referee Nestor Petana’s performance. Manchester City’s new signing Julián Álvarez, who has been loaned back to Los Millonarios until July, failed to make any impact in the game.
🔚🥳 ¡FINAL Y TRIUNFO!
➕3 en el debut
Con gol de Mauro Luna Diale, de penal, #Unión derrotó a @RiverPlate por 1 a 0.
¡Gritalo, Tatengue! 🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/3bykGIuKRh
— Club Atlético Unión (@clubaunion) February 13, 2022
False start for Racing
Last season’s runners up Racing Club were held to a 0-0 draw with Gimnasia at the El Cilindro de Avellaneda. The home side failed to capitalise on their 66% possession and 15 shots. La Acadamia forward Javier Marcelo Correa also saw his 27th minute penalty saved by Rodrigo Rey. Matías Rojas came closest to breaking the deadlock as his shot from outside of the box on the 52nd minute flew just past the post.
Gimnasia were not short of their own chances, with eight shots on goal. Racing manager Fernando Gago had his goalkeeper to thank late on as Gastón Gómez made two fantastic saves to deny Germán Guiffrey and Johan Carbonero taking all three points for El Lobo.
How did the promoted teams fare?
Barracus Central suffered a 3-1 defeat to Central Cordoba despite having 60% of the ball. Cordoba took an early lead in just the 4th minute as Renzo Lopez headed in from a corner. It then took until the 84th minute when Abel Argañaraz doubled their lead with a tap in.
Barracus got one back on the 86th minute from Neri Brandiera before Silvio Alejandro Martínez sealed the victory for the home side in added time with a powerful strike.
Tigre started brightly in their opening game against Godoy Cruz. The newly promoted side took the lead on the 36th minute when Lucas Blondel fired in a half-volley from outside the box.
😳 Les juro que quiero entender lo que hizo, pero es una locura…
La magia de ✨Lucas Blondel✨ pic.twitter.com/QcNEc9Hht6
— Club Atlético Tigre (@catigreoficial) February 12, 2022
It was looking likely Tigre would take all three points with Godoy Cruz being reduced to 10-men when Elías López was shown a straight red card on the 91st minute. However, despite being a man less Gianluca Cruz managed to find space in the box to slot home the equaliser on the 93rd minute to rescue a point.
Best of the rest
Elsewhere in the division there were notable victories for Newell’s Old Boys, Vélez Sarsfield and Estudiantes.
Newell’s beat 10-man Defensa y Justicia thanks to a wonderful headed goal from Francisco Agustín González. Although La Lepra nearly rued not making the most of their 23 shots on goal as Miguel Merentiel missed a great chance to level the score late on.
LA EXPLOSIÓN 🤯🔥 pic.twitter.com/OZZvEX6w2C
— Newell’s Old Boys (@Newells) February 11, 2022
Vélez Sarsfield defeated Atlético Aldosivi 2-0 with goals from Luca Orellano and Lucas Janson. Aldosivi defender Nicolás Valentini was sent off late on. Vélez also had two goals ruled out for offside, one being a spectacular overhead-kick from Janson.
Estudiantes took a 2-0 lead over Independiente as Mauro Boselli, Agustin Rogil both scored headed goals. El Rojo then got one back in controversial circumstances as Andrès Roa’s corner which Joaquín Laso scored from did not appear to be on the quadrant when it was taken. However, Los Pincharratas managed to cling on to their lead to claim all 3 points.