An injury-time goal from substitute Alexís Rodríguez gave Newell’s all three points against Palestino of Chile and a lifeline in the challenge to qualify from Group F in this year’s Copa Sudamericana.
Germán Burgos made a number of changes from the side that lost to Rosario Central in the Clásico. Young defender Milton Leyendeker was handed his professional debut while Ignacio Scocco started up top for La Lepra.
After a boring first half with minimal chances, Scocco and forward Cingolani were withdrawn for the Rodríguez cousins – Maxi and Alexís – and it was them who would swing the game in favour of Newell’s.
Maxi worked hard to create chances in attack and although Alexís blasted two shots over the bar, he’d make no mistake late on to snatch a victory for Newell’s.
With two minutes remaining, Alan Aguerre had to be at his typical best when Diego Calcaterra deflected a header towards his own goal that could have seen Palestino take the lead. Then, the best player on the pitch for Newell’s, Cristian Lema, drove up the pitch with the ball at his feet, finding Maxi Rodríguez who played in Ramiro Sordo on the right. With scores of Lepers pushing their way into the box, Sordo rifled a cross which hit a Palestino player first. The deflection was lucky for Alexís Rodríguez who was quick to react, hitting an instinctive half-volley straight into the Palestino net.
Relief was palpable in the stadium and Newell’s take a vital three points back to Rosario after a horrid week.
After three matches, Newell’s now have four points in the Copa Sudamericana and the result between Libertad and Atlético Goianiense (Wednesday) will likely determine what has to be done to challenge for qualification over the remaining three group games.
Watch the highlights of the match below.