Lucas Villafanez scored a second-half equalizer to give Independiente a 1-1 draw at Boca Juniors in round 12 of the Argentine Clausura tournament Monday.
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Martin Palermo gave Boca the lead with a back-heeled volley in the 23rd minute, but substitute Villafanez struck from the edge of the box in the 77th to level the match.
”It’s a difficult pitch to play on because the people put you under a lot of pressure,” said Villafanez. ”It took a long time to get the equalizer, but we managed it in the end.”
Both clubs were left in the bottom half of the table with 15 points each, nine behind leader Velez Sarsfield.
Also Monday, Olimpo drew 2-2 with Tigre and Lanus won 1-0 at Colon.
In Friday and Saturday results it was: Gimnasia 1, Newell’s 2; Banfield 3, Quilmes 4; All Boys 0, Argentinos Juniors 0; San Lorenzo 3, Huracan 0; Racing Club 0, River Plate 1; Godoy Cruz 1, Arsenal 4; Estudiantes 0, Velez 4.
After 12 matches of the 19-match tournament, Velez Sarsfield leads the standings with 24 points. River Plate is second with 22, while Godoy Cruz has 20 in third.
Defending champion Estudiantes has faded in recent weeks and sits in ninth with 17 points.
Boca’s playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme recovered from an abdominal muscle strain to start the match against derby rival Independiente, but was substituted in the 73rd by Walter Erviti – the player many believe has been signed as his replacement.
Palermo’s opener was a clever flick with his right heel to divert Nicolas Colazo’s low cross into the net half way through the opening period.
Independiente improved after the break and Villafanez scored within minutes of entering as a substitute to split the spoils.
Elsewhere, Diego Galvan opened the scoring for Olimpo in the seventh minute, but Roman Martinez leveled with a 34th-minute effort.
After the break, Martinez scored with an attractive lob from 30 yards (meters) to put Tigre ahead, but Nestor Bareiro hit a bouncing ball into the far top corner to equalize in the 57th.
Olimpo is fourth with 19 points and Tigre has 16 in 12th spot, though both teams still have relegation worries.
Relegation from the top division is decided in a separate table of average points earned per match over the previous three seasons.
The bottom two teams descend automatically, while the next two worst performers face playoffs to avoid the drop.
Quilmes and Gimnasia are currently in the automatic relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Leandro Diaz headed the match-winning goal as Lanus moved to fifth spot with a 1-0 win at Colon.