Central Córdoba (SdeE) 1
Newell’s Old Boys 2
🏟️ Estadio Alfredo Terrera, Santiago del Estero
In wet conditions at an empty Estadio Alfredo Terrera in Santiago del Estero, Newell’s Old Boys took three points from their opening Copa Superliga fixture against Central Córdoba. The away side had goalkeeper Alan Aguerre, so consistently outstanding in his guarding of the Newell’s goal, to thank for ensuring it took the santiagueños 94 minutes to score a goal and by that stage, it was only a consolation.
Aguerre was magnificent in keeping out Central Córdoba, who looked up for it from the kick-off. He rose like a salmon out of the water to tip a Matías Nani header away from the goal and the saves didn’t end there. After half an hour, Newell’s fans were starting to feel lucky that the game was still scoreless. Then, almost out of nowhere, Mariano Bíttolo found Sebastián Palacios near the edge of the Central Córdoba box. ‘Tucu’ slipped in Luis Leal who didn’t hesitate in smashing the ball towards the far corner. Opposition keeper Rodríguez got some sort of touch to it but the sheer power of the shot was too much for him and Newell’s took the lead against the run of play. Amazingly, within 80 seconds, Newell’s found themselves two up. From the kick-off, Central Córdoba lost the ball in their own half and the quick thinking of Palacios again created a one-on-one chance for captain Maxi Rodríguez. Maxi’s shot was saved by his namesake Diego Rodríguez but the ball ricocheted back off defender Nani and into the net. Maxi Rodríguez was quiet throughout the game but his contribution here would prove to be important in Newell’s holding onto their lead.
The second half was a dull affair. By then, it was getting close to midnight local time and energy was waning. With a sense that everyone was waiting for the final whistle, Newell’s switched off and an unmarked Matías Nani, who already had scored a goal at the wrong end, rose high to nod in a cross and grab a goal back for Central Córdoba. It was too little, too late though and referee Fernando Espinoza blew the final whistle almost immediately after the home side’s late consolation.
The result puts Newell’s in a good position after the opening weekend of the Copa Superliga but it’s hard to see any scenario whereby next Sunday’s home game against Patronato goes ahead. The President of Argentina Alberto Fernández has openly said that he would like to see football continue behind-closed-doors but with cases of COVID-19 in Argentina increasing, this doesn’t look sustainable.