CONMEBOL SUDAMERICANA – GROUP F
Atlético Goianiense 0
Newell’s Old Boys 0
🏟️ Estádio Antônio Accioly, Goiânia, Brazil
Newell’s Old Boys will return to Rosario with a hard-earned point after playing out a goalless draw with Jorginho’s Atlético Goianiense on Tuesday night.
The first-half was short on quality with both teams huffing and puffing in attack. Atlético had the majority of possession but struggled to conjure any big chances in the opening half an hour and the Newell’s back three of Lema, Cabral and Calcaterra stood strong, dealing with any hopeful attacks from the home side.
Both sides had a chance each to open the scoring with fewer than ten minutes left in the opening period. First, Maxi Rodríguez’s lofted ball into the box was directly onto the head of Cristian Lema, begging to be steered into the net. Lema decided to go with the down header which meant it hit the ground, taking the force out of it completely and causing it to roll wide of the home side’s post.
Minutes later, Alan Aguerre had to stand strong when Danilo Gomes found space in the box for a shot and rifled one on goal. Aguerre, with strong hands, pushed it away confidently.
The Dragão upped the ante in the second-half, almost stunning Newell’s straight from kick-off with Janderson flashing a shot past Alan Aguerre’s far post.
Aguerre made a very rare mistake after 55 minutes when a low cross came across his six-yard box from Danilo Gomes. Failing to collect it, it fell to Janderson who just needed a clean touch to score but found himself with just an airship to show for the opportunity.
With an hour gone, Germán Burgos brought Ignacio Scocco and Manuel Llano on, removing Maxi Rodríguez and Pablo Pérez. That changed the team dynamic, pushing the defence back even further and encouraging the players to counter attack without looking for a defence splitting pass which Maxi and Pérez were finding some joy with.
With backs to the wall, Aguerre came to the rescue once again on 68 minutes, saving from Dudu who caused all sorts of problems down the right flank in the second half.
Newell’s had some half-chances on the break through Scocco, Negri and Giani. The latter might have had a penalty with ten minutes remaining having got between two Atlético defenders before going down but the referee was too far away to give it with confidence and the game was played without the support of VAR.
With seven minutes remaining on the clock, it looked like the home side would surely break the deadlock. Goianiense moved into the box again from the right and had two or three chances to hit the net but for heroic defending from Facundo Nadalín first, then with help from the crossbar and finally, a goal line clearance from Llano cleared the danger for good.
In injury-time, substitute Roberson received a second yellow card for simulation when he tried to fool the referee into giving a late penalty. However, Newell’s didn’t have time to take advantage of their opponents being a man down as the referee blew the whistle immediately after the sending off.
Newell’s fans surely will have breathed a sigh of relief at the end as Atlético Goianiense probably should be celebrating an opening day win.
Credit to the Newell’s defence however, who stood strong in the face of pressure and kept a rigid shape until the end, frustrating the Brazilians throughout.
A tough home fixture against the Libertad of Paraguay is next for La Lepra in the Copa Sudamericana but the focus now turns to an away game next Monday against Gimnasia in the Copa de la Liga.