Newell’s Old Boys 1
Atlético de Rafaela 1
🏟️ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, Rosario
Same time, same place, same scoreline, same scorer. Seven days on from Newell’s Old Boys’ 1-1 draw with Unión in a pre-season friendly, it was much the same story with Atlético de Rafaela the visitors to Rosario earlier today for a short 70-minute pre-season friendly.
With doubts over La Crema’s participation due to quarantine and self-isolation rules in the province of Santa Fe, the match was only confirmed at very short notice and consequently too late to broadcast on television. Instead, the game was streamed by Newell’s Old Boys on its official YouTube channel, with thousands tuning in to watch Ignacio Scocco cancel out Ayrton Portillo’s second half opener for the visitors.
Newell’s were on the front foot from the start with Maxi Rodríguez imposing himself on the game, playing in the hole behind centre forward Scocco. Rodríguez played an inviting ball over the top for Panchito González after 8 minutes but the youngster couldn’t get his toe-poke on target and it went high over the bar.
Maxi was again the creator ten minutes later, chancing another ball in behind the defence. It was Scocco getting on the end of it this time but his effort was also off-target.
The game was scoreless at the end of the first 35-minute half but Newell’s came out for the second half with renewed energy. La Lepra pressed their opponents from the restart and Scocco had the ball in the net almost immediately, curling it into the top corner from the edge of the box. However, the linesman had his flag raised and it was chalked off for offside in the build-up.
Maxi Rodríguez then went close to opening the scoring, floating a ball into the box that dropped onto the crossbar before being cleared. Minutes later, Newell’s had another goal disallowed for offside after Panchito González was put through. He took the ball to the right of the diving keeper and finished from a tight angle but the flag was up once more.
Seconds afterwards, Atlético de Rafaela opened the scoring against the run of play. Bíttolo and Fontanini fell asleep at the back and Ayrton Portillo got in behind them to finish well into the top corner beyond keeper Alan Aguerre. With Newell’s looking potent in attack throughout the game, the defence looked shaky when threatened and new boy Manuel Guanini clearly needs more time to settle after joining the club from Gimnasia.
With ten minutes remaining, Newell’s pushed hard for an equaliser. The lively González flashed an effort across the goalmouth but there was no one there to add a finish. With five minutes to go, it was Ignacio Scocco who grabbed the equaliser, just like last week against Unión.
The impressive Facundo Nadalín played a long high ball towards Scocco who let it drop between two defenders before hitting a first-time lobbed half-volley. The ball looped into the air and dropped into the net, catching the Rafaela keeper off-guard. A goal apiece is how it ended.
Based on this showing, manager Frank Kudelka will know that there is still work to be done before competitive action resumes, especially in the position of centre-back where the loss of Cristian Lema, who this week signed for Damac of Saudi Arabia, has weakened the team.