COPA ARGENTINA | ROUND OF 32
Newell’s Old Boys 0
🏟️ Estadio Único de San Nicolás, San Nicolás
Germán Burgos watched on as his Newell’s Old Boys side imploded in the Copa Argentina, going down to 9 men and suffering defeat to Mario Sciacqua’s Sarmiento in the neutral Estadio Único in San Nicolás.
Although there was only one goal to separate the teams, things seem to be going from bad to worse for a Newell’s side that have only managed to score 4 goals in their last 8 games under Burgos. Again, there was impotence in attack and a loose, ineffective midfield occupied by veterans Pablo Pérez and Mauro Formica.
El Mono surprised some with his selection, handing a debut to youngster Zahir Mansilla at centre-back, giving a rare start to Formica and starting with a two-man attack of Scocco and the returning Cristaldo. There were new faces but it didn’t necessarily have any impact on the way Newell’s played.
In the opening minutes of the game, Sarmiento might have had a penalty as the ball touched the hand of Milton Leyendeker in the box but the absence of VAR meant it was up to referee Pablo Echavarría to call it and he was nowhere near the incident so play went on.
The opening quarter was marked by a lot of stoppages for tit-for-tat fouling. It was Sarmiento that first threatened, a long shot from Arismendi saved well by the feet of Newell’s keeper Alan Aguerre.
With 25 minutes played, Newell’s went closest to scoring from a free-kick. Sarmiento keeper Vicentini was penalized for handling the ball outside the box after rushing out to contain a promising free-kick. He had to be at his best to keep the resulting set-piece strike from Ignacio Scocco out. Scocco’s shot was on target and heading for the net but Vicentini pulled off a fine stop to save it.
The opening goal came with 10 minutes left in the first-half. The Newell’s defence found itself at sixes and sevens as first-half substitute Benjamín Borasi burst through with the ball at his feet. Cristian Lema looked to have stopped the attack, shielding the ball from Borasi after he ran out of steam but Borasi used his strength to knock Lema out of the way and steal it back before finishing from close-range. It looked like a foul on Lema that should have been called by the referee but he awarded the goal and Sarmiento celebrated.
Lema looked shook after being at fault for the goal, even if he believed he was fouled, and the big Newell’s centre-back conceded a yellow card soon after the goal for pulling back a Sarmiento player. He had been bypassed with ease during another attack from El Verde and the half-time whistle was surely a relief for El Sicario.
The half-time break did nothing for Lema’s nerves and the referee put him out of his misery early in the second-half, showing a second yellow card for a slide tackle on goalscorer Borasi just outside the box. With 35 minutes left in the match, Newell’s were down to ten.
With the challenge having become more difficult after Lema’s red card, Burgos decided to empty the bench, bringing on youngsters Sordo, Aguirre and Patricio Acevedo for his debut.
Alan Aguerre, best for Newell’s in the first-half and best for Newell’s in most matches, stopped Benjamín Bolasi from scoring his and Sarmiento’s second on 69 minutes. The Newell’s number one came out the better of a one-on-one after Bolasi went through on goal and Franco Negri got back on the line to clear a follow-up shot.
Newell’s went down to nine men with ten minutes remaining after Julián Fernández saw a straight red for a completely unnecessary challenge from behind. With the implosion complete, Newell’s oddly showed some promise playing with a two-man disadvantage and had a number of half-chances as the clock counted down. The enthusiasm of youth showed as Sordo and Acevedo tried to get the ball up the field, mainly without success.
Sarmiento held on for the win and will progress to the last 16 of the competition amidst another poor Newell’s performance under El Mono Burgos.