Rogelio Funes Mori scored two first-half goals Sunday as River Plate won 3-2 at home against Independiente to record a third straight victory in the Argentine Apertura tournament.
River’s fierce rival Boca Juniors slumped to a 2-0 loss at newly-promoted All Boys and has just one point from three games.
Funes Mori turned in the opener in the ninth minute before Nestor Silvera leveled for Inependiente in the 18th. Funes Mori put River back in front in the 19th, and Paulo Ferrari added a third in the 25th.
River goalkeeper Juan Carrizo scored a freak own-goal in the final minute.
"We struggled a bit in the end, but the most important thing is that we got the three points," Funes Mori said.
River is level on points with Velez Sarsfield, the only other team with a perfect record after three games. Estudiantes and Banfield are two points further back.
Mauro Matos was brought down by goalkeeper Cristian Lucchetti and scored from the ensuing penalty to give All Boys the lead in the 30th minute.
Eduardo Dominguez headed a second from a corner in the 40th to give the home side its first victory after two opening losses.
Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme was again absent for Boca as he continues to recover from left knee surgery in the close season.
Earlier Sunday, Gimnasia La Plata drew 0-0 with Colon, while Mauro Obolo and a Luciano Leguizamon penalty gave Arsenal de Sarandi a 2-0 home win over Huracan.
River’s win keeps the club among the season’s frontrunners and further eased fears of dropping out of the top division.
Relegation from Argentina’s top flight is decided by a percentage table of results from the past three seasons. After two mediocre years, River – one of Argentina’s biggest clubs – started this season in the drop zone.
None of Argentina’s five big clubs – River, Boca, Independiente, Racing Club and San Lorenzo – has been relegated since the average points system was introduced in 1983.
Since his appointment in April, River coach Angel Cappa has started turning results round. The win against Independiente – considered an important derby match in Argentina – will now raise hopes of a title challenge.
River last won the league in the Clausura 2008 tournament under coach Diego Simeone.
Funes Mori scored an early opener for River after the Independiente defense failed to clear Diego Buonanotte’s corner, but Silvera scored with a first-time shot from Lucas Mareque’s pass 10 minutes later.
River responded immediately with Funes Mori scoring his second and Ferrari finishing off a fluid passing move down the right flank for a two-goal lead at halftime.
Carrizo scored a late own-goal when a Federico Mancuello header bounced off the post, hit him in the face and rebounded back into the net.
In Friday and Saturday results, it was: Banfield 0, Estudiantes 0; Newell’s Old Boys 2, Tigre 0; Quilmes 1, Lanus 1; Velez Sarsfield 2, Argentinos Juniors 0; Godoy Cruz 1, Olimpo 0 and Racing Club 1, San Lorenzo 2.