GROUP F | CONMEBOL SUDAMERICANA
Newell’s Old Boys 1
Atlético Goianiense 1
🏟️ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, Rosario
In what may prove to be his final match as Newell’s manager, Germán Burgos watched as a very youthful Newell’s side tried desperately to take three points from the Brazilians Atlético Goianiense at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa in the final group game of the 2021 Copa Sudamericana.
The final group standings would depend on the result of the Palestino/Libertad match being played at the same time in Chile. Group leaders Libertad simply needed to avoid defeat to win the group. If they didn’t, the winners of Newell’s Old Boys and Atlético Goianiense could jump into first place.
Back in Rosario, both teams struggled for chances in the first-half. The best chances came within the opening 15 minutes and Atlético Goianiense probably should have taken the lead when Newell’s failed to pick up Zé Roberto from a corner. His free-header was badly judged though, directed downwards with the turf taking the force out of it and allowing Alan Aguerre to make an easy save.
A few minutes later, Jonatan Cristaldo snuck in behind the Goianiense defence and looked to have a clear shot on goal before the ball was snatched from his feet at the last second.
With a lack of real opportunities for either side, the first half was a fiery affair yielding a total of 6 yellow cards; 4 for Newell’s and 2 for Atlético. Seeing the risk, El Mono Burgos acted fast to remove two of those who had received cautions (Sordo and Negri) at half-time.
At the break, both teams would have been aware that Palestino had taken the lead against Libertad in Chile, giving the second period the impetus to become the group decider for whoever had the initiative to go for three points.
One of the substitutes who came on at the break made an instant impact in the second half.
Justo Giani, who replaced Ramiro Sordo, was the benefactor of some very pleasing play between Nicolás Castro and Patricio Acevedo. Acevedo on the right side of the box pulled it back to find Giani whose first effort was blocked. The rebound fell kindly at his feet and he pounced again to give Newell’s the lead from close range; his first goal for the club.
Newell’s had dominated the opening first ten minutes of the second half but the Brazilians burst into life after conceding.
Alan Aguerre had to be switched on at the hour mark when a short pass from Patricio Acevedo nearly let Goianiense in for a quick equaliser only for the Newell’s captain to rush out from goal and clear with his feet.
With the influential Janderson starting to turn the screw for the boys from Goiás State, Aguerre was forced into another save, this time from a superb free-kick, to maintain Newell’s’ advantage.
With 72 minutes played, his resolve was broken when Danilo Gomes took a lofted ball on his chest beyond Milton Leyendeker to finish first-time, lifting the ball over Aguerre who tried to smother his effort. It was totally against the run of play but Newell’s invested so much in attack that Goianiense were increasingly looking dangerous on the counter with the home side having to resort to rash challenges to stop it on occasions.
Newell’s didn’t let the momentum that their opponents gained from equalising have a further impact on the match and El Mono Burgos’ second half substitutions helped the side to push for a winner as the clock counted down.
The introduction of Fernando Belluschi added experience and creativity to La Lepra’s play and he set up Justo Giani in the final five minutes but Giani’s fierce shot was just over.
The best chance of a winner fell to Julián Fernández in injury time. After Giani was involved again, his blocked shot rolled into the path of “El Tractor” from 30 yards out. Going for goal, Fernández rocket of a shot looked to have given Newell’s a dramatic late winner but it cannoned off the post as everyone in the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa held their breath.
In Chile, Libertad managed to come back from 1-0 down to Palestino at half-time to win the game 2-1, rendering the 1-1 draw between Newell’s Old Boys and Atlético Goianiense irrelevant in the end.
With the result, Newell’s finally put a regrettable campaign to bed and Germán Burgos potentially leaves his tenure as Newell’s manager with the history books.
The players now go on a lengthy winter break with competitive action not expected to return for Newell’s Old Boys until July at the earliest, depending on the COVID-19 situation.