Newell’s Old Boys were beaten for the third time in a row on Saturday night, falling to two second-half goals in the north of Argentina against league leaders Atlético Tucumán.
Despite an even first period in which both teams traded chances, La Lepra ran out of ideas as the game went on and wasted possession in front of an excitable home crowd. Pablo Pérez and Ramiro Sordo, two of the most influential players for the visitors, were at the centre of controversy early in the second-half. Moments after Pérez was withdrawn by the Newell’s doctor for taking a blow from the ball to the ear, Sordo was shown red by referee Andrés Merlos after reacting to a tackle by Gastón Gil Romero with a push to the neck.
Luckily for Newell’s, the decision was overturned after a VAR check and Sordo stayed on the pitch. It should have given La Lepra the impetus to drive on having dodged a bullet but another Ramiro, Ramiro Carrera, ruined that narrative when he smashed the ball past rookie Newell’s keeper Franco Herrera on 73 minutes after good play down the right flank. Tucumán’s opener felt like punishment for weak play from Newell’s at the other end despite Sanguinetti’s side dominating possession.
As Newell’s pushed for an equaliser deep into injury-time, El Decano sealed the win late-on when substitute Renzo Tesuri passed the ball into an empty net in the 98th minute. Franco Herrera had gone up the other end for a last-gasp Newell’s free-kick which Tucumán cleared, paving the way for a fast counter-attack as Herrera tried in vain to rush back to his goal.
Saturday’s defeat left Newell’s in 10th position in the league, with Atlético Tucumán moving 4 points clear at the top.
Watch the highlights of the match below.