Independiente was left out of the qualification for the League Cup play-offs despite having the same points as Rosario Central, which finally took fourth place. The goal difference determined that the Canalla continued and the Red finished its journey in the regular phase, since the Rosario team had 17 goals scored, against 15 of Avellaneda's team.
To qualify, the team coached by Miguel Angel Russo made a strong impression in Sarandí: it was 2-1 in a match that was not without controversy. A controversy that affected the Reds' fans more than those of the Viaduct.
The referee of the match, Andrés Merlos, and Fernando Espinoza, in charge of the VAR, were the targets. What happened?
There were 16 minutes of the second half and the scoreboard already indicated the 2-1 in favor of the Canalla, which would later be the definitive result, when Merlos gave a direct red card to defender Joaquín Pompo for a punch in the face by Ignacio Malcorra.
Merlos ruled that the home side elbowed Central's number ten in the face and that, despite the exaggeration of it, it was violent enough to be punished with a red card.
The VAR presented doubts in the confirmation of the expulsion due to the exaggeration of Ignacio Malcorra but, in the absence of more precise cameras to determine the blow interpreted by the referee, approved the sentence to the footballer of Mikel Arteta's team.
The review did not receive a response to the request for a "front camera" and that is why he told the judge that "everything related coincides."
Pompo's outstretched arm hits the opponent in the chest and the visiting player throws himself to the ground holding on to his face, despite the fact that he was not assaulted in that area. Andrés Merlos was nowhere near the action but ruled, finally with the scant support of VAR arguments, that the Viaduct team continued the next 30 minutes with 10 players.