'La Gata's' 25th minute goal puts Estudiantes five points clear at the top of the Apertura table, while pouring cold water on the aspirations of Ramon Diaz's unispired 'Cuervos'...
Estudiantes started the game with far more urgency than the hosts, who seemed unable to find a way to break the typically rock-solid 'Pincha' backline. The away side had no such problems, and almost took the lead after six minutes; only an acrobatic save by Damian Albil denying Rodrigo Braña from taking the lead after the midfielder found space on the edge of the area.
Further sterling work from the Estudiantes middle-men almost let in Fernandez, before 'La Gata' struck after 25 minutes to give his side the lead in the first half. The architect was the excellent Enzo Perez; combining with teammates on the right hand side, the 24 year old chipped delightfully to release Fernandez one on one with Albil. The striker had time to weigh up his options before nonchalantly passing the ball into the right-hand corner of the net.
Even after going one down Ramon Diaz's 'Ciclon' side showed little sign that they would press for an equaliser, failing to create a decent chance as Sebastian Balsas and Leandro Romagnoli were shackled almost entirely. Indeed, only further excellent work by Albil between the posts prevented the scoreline from widening as Estudiantes continued to dominate the remainder of the half.
The second period saw San Lorenzo start to dictate the game's tempo, as the away team took off goal scorer Fernandez and played a cautious, counter-attacking match. This did nothing for the overall quality of the encounter however, as bereft of the opportunity to penetrate the 'Pincha' backline Diaz's side tried time and again to go over the top and find Uruguayan giant Balsas.
The crosses though lacked the necessary quality, and former 'Cuervo' number one Augustin Orion was content to pluck the centres out of the air without too much bother. The biggest scare for Estudiantes came with 15 minutes remaining, when a rare error from Orion almost led to an equaliser. The keeper came out rashly and left the net wide open, and it took a desperate clearance from Marco Rojo to prevent scores being levelled.
The win guarantees a five point cushion for Alex Sabella's side over nearest rivals Velez Sarsfield and Arsenal de Sarandi, having accumulated 22 points in the opening nine matches. San Lorenzo meanwhile fall seven points behind today's opponents, and could be leapfrogged the winner of this evening's clash between River Plate and Banfield to drop down into seventh place.