Monday, February 8, 2016

Mixed success for big teams - Argentina Roundup

Rosario Central's Hinchada was more than ready for the season to start.

It was finally time for the Argentine league to start its new season this weekend. While some smaller teams surprised, the big ones collected pretty mixed results. 

Rosario Central, who were in the title race until the very end and lost the cup final in unlucky fashion, started the season off with a victory. In the absence of top striker Marco Ruben, 34-year old Cesar Delgado stepped up and scored the only goal of the game against Godoy Cruz. The visitors were held without a single shot on target and therefore deserved the loss against the heavy favourites. Central dominated and celebrate a successful start to the season.

Meanwhile, the first goal of the season was scored by Banfield's captain Walter Erviti. The experienced midfielder opened the goalscoring in the ninth minute and initiated the home win against Gimnasia y Esgrima. Lihue Prichoda added the second and final goal of the game 7 minutes from the end. Banfield outshot and outchanced their opponents and rightly positioned themselves at the top of the league during the first night.

Huracán had a tougher outing at home against Atlético Rafaela. The Copa Sudamericana finalist and Rafaela contested a pretty even match and an own goal made the difference on the day. Mauro Bogado left his goalkeeper Diaz no chance in the 25th minute. While the home team had the chance to tie the game in a second half pressure period, they could not do so and find themselves towards the bottom of the Primera Division to start with. 

Largely anticipated was the Clásico in week 1 between Aldosivi and Olimpo. It turned out to be a relatively one-sided affair after all. Aldosivi left their guests no chance and beat them convincingly, 3-0. Key moment of the game was the sending-off for Olimpo's left midfielder Elias Borrego. He received his second yellow card for a foul inside the area, the following penalty was converted by Gaston Diaz in the 71st minute. Santiago Rosales and Alexis Castro should add two further goals to reach the final score.

Happy looks different: Boca players after a 0-0 draw at Temperley.

Defending double champions Boca Juniors disappointed despite having the majority of shots away at Temperley. A game that ended in a goalless draw was never something for the eyes despite the involvement of the likes of Carlos Tevez or Nicolas Lodeiro. Boca surely had imagined their title defense campaign to start differently. 

The same can likely be said about San Lorenzo. Newly promoted Patronato held them to a 2-2 draw, which was at times even lucky for the favourites. San Lorenzo conceded early goals in each half, through Fernando Telechea after 12 and through Fernando Emmanuel de la Fuente after 48 minutes. Striker Leandro Romagnoli via direct freekick in added time of the first half and Nestor Ortigoza via penalty in the 66th tied the game respectively. Patronato were delighted with their start, gaining a point that was not necessarily to be expected.

Argentinos Juniors also came back from a one goal deficit. After Jose Correa gave Tigre a 17th minute lead, Luciano Cabral equalised in the 73rd. Visiting Tigre had the better chances throughout the game and an away win would not have been undeserved.

Elsewhere, San Martín started the season with a victory over the iconic Newell's Old Boys. The visitors did not have a good year to end 2015 as well and 2016 does not start any better. Not only did they lose the game, 2-1, but also substitute Diego Mancini, who was sent off with a straight red card late in the game. Emanuel Dening and Juan Francisco Mattia gave San Martín a 2-0 lead, before new signing Lucas Boye cut the lead in half in injury time.

On Sunday, another shock result: Primera B champions and freshly promoted Atlético Tucuman were able to beat title contenders Racing Club at home. It was not undeserved. A goal from Fernando Zampedri gave the hosts the lead in the 20th minute, doubled by Leandro Gonzalez right after the start of the second half. While Gustavo Bou got one back at the hour mark, it was all that Racing were able to accomplish in the electric atmosphere. Not only that, but they also lost Yonatan Cabral due to his second yellow card in injury time. Their defending and especially goalkeeping needs to step it up for them to have any chance to win games.

Talking of title contenders, Independiente left it late to beat Belgrano in the Libertadores stadium. Emiliano Rigoni scored the only goal of the game in the 86th minute. It was all there is to write about this game, as it was quite the poor one. The Argentine rain made this match a tough one and led to very few chances on either side.

No game possible: River's Monumental stadium.

Rain. River Plate and Quilmes had their opening match postponed to Monday (11pm CET). Torrential rain inside the Monumental led to a delay first, until the referee decided it no longer made sense, because playing was just impossible.

Nicolas Stefanelli and Agustin Bouzat gave their team Defensa y Justicia a 2-0 half time lead against the visiting Unión de Santa Fe. Unfortunately for Defensa, that would not be enough for the win. Malcorra through penalty in the 56th and the added time equaliser after a corner from Claudio Riaño tied the game up late and let Unión steal an unlikely point.

Lastly, Uníon's local rival Colón were at home against Arsenal. This game, most likely, saw the best goal of match week 1, through Alan Ruiz. The Argentine striker was the figure of this meeting anyway, scoring twice for his team before being sent off in the second half with a straight red card. While the game itself was relatively even shot and chance wise, Ruiz made the difference. Arsenal could only counter once at 90+2 through Joaquin Boghossian. They start their campaign off with a loss, but showed some promise at times to have a better season than in 2015.

Photo note: all pictures taken from


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