COPA DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA
Godoy Cruz 0
Newell’s Old Boys 3
🏟️ Estadio Malvinas Argentina, Mendoza
Newell’s Old Boys scored an emphatic win over Godoy Cruz on Saturday evening to make it two wins from two in Group B of the “Complement” Phase in the Copa Diego Maradona.
Against a vulnerable Godoy Cruz defence, La Lepra created chance after chance while being helped at the other end by a solid performance in goal from Ramiro Macagno.
It took just 22 minutes for Newell’s to go in front at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas. Alexís Rodríguez, not for the last time, got beyond the Godoy Cruz defence and showed great generosity to place the ball on a plate for his older cousin Maxi Rodríguez to pass into an empty net and put the away side 1-0 up. Maxi immediately ran to the bench to pay tribute to the injured Panchito González, whose place was taken in the starting line-up by Alexís Rodríguez. It was the captain’s 90th goal in a Newell’s shirt and he’s now our joint second highest goalscorer ever.
Just over thirteen minutes later, Newell’s went 0-2 up. The impressive Julián Fernández rose high with Godoy Cruz forward Tomás Badaloni and while Fernández got a head to it, the ball ricocheted off Badaloni past Ramírez into the net.
The teams went into the break with Newell’s leading 0-2.
The opening minutes of the second half were a frantic period that culminated in both teams going down to ten men. Seconds after the restart, Leonel González received a second yellow card for pushing Alexís Rodríguez while two minutes later, veteran Newell’s midfielder Pablo Pérez also received his marching orders for a second yellow. Amazingly, this was the 6th game out of the last 8 that Newell’s have played where a red card has been shown.
With the contest now 10 versus 10, it proceeded just as it had done in the first half with Newell’s the dominant side. The impressive Alexís Rodríguez added a deserved third for La Lepra on 61 minutes, finishing cooly from a one-on-one after escaping Godoy Cruz’s high defensive line. He was substituted with cramp after his goal but his manager Frank Kudelka is bound to be pleased with his contribution (1 goal, 1 assist) in the absence of Francisco González.
After Newell’s went three goals ahead, goalkeeper Ramiro Macagno worked hard to ensure they finished the game with a clean sheet. The pick of his saves came on 69 minutes from a Gianluca Ferrari volley.
With five minutes remaining, Frank Kudelka made a significant substitution. The hotly tipped Juan Sforza was brought on for his Newell’s debut and looked confident in possession, passing well and demanding the ball in a brief cameo.
With a Copa Argentina tie against Sportivo Peñarol up next on Tuesday (22/12), Sforza may get a chance to make his mark from the start for a youthful Newell’s Old Boys side if Frank Kudelka chooses to rest his senior players.
The game ended 0-3 to Newell’s who now lead Group B after a lacklustre performance in the Initial Stage of the Copa Diego Maradona. It’s worth remembering that the last three games, all wins for La Lepra, have come during a period of deep injury crisis with players like Ignacio Scocco and Alan Aguerre watching from the sidelines.