COPA LIGA PROFESIONAL DE FUTBOL
Newell’s Old Boys 1
🏟️ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, Rosario
When Ignacio Méndez was shown a second yellow card at the end of the first half by referee Silvio Trucco, Newell’s Old Boys should have been looking forward to a second half where they could assert total control over opponents Talleres. But despite having gone ahead after only 3 minutes of the match, it was Newell’s who looked like the team with ten men throughout the second period.
It couldn’t have started any better for Kudelka’s side. Maxi Rodríguez picked up where he left off against Lanús by putting Newell’s ahead after a lofted ball over the defence by Mariano Bíttolo. The captain’s side-footed shot was accurately placed and left Mauricio Carranta with no chance.
Talleres didn’t take long to wake up after that early blow and Newell’s found themselves under pressure for most of the first-half. Manuel Guanini went some way towards answering his critics by providing a crucial block on 18 minutes to stop Talleres equalising. Newell’s had luck to thank a couple of minutes later when Mateo Retegui blasted a glorious chance over the bar after finding himself in the perfect position to score from inside the box.
Mariano Bíttolo, who assisted Maxi’s opener, was having a strong game at left-back, breaking up attack after attack by Talleres. He wouldn’t make it to half-time though, pulling up after 42 minutes with an injury. He was replaced by Angelo Gabrielli.
The first-half would end with a serious turning point. Caranta booted the ball long towards the centre circle and Ignacio Méndez, already on a yellow card, jumped with the Francisco “Panchito” González. Panchito immediately fell to the turf having received a blow. Silvio Trucco didn’t hesitate to show Méndez his second yellow and Talleres were faced with the prospect of playing the full second half with ten men and already a goal down.
Tensions were high from the beginning of the second half with fouls being committed by both sides. Veterans Maxi Rodríguez, Ignacio Scocco and Pablo Pérez were all involved as a shoving match broke out after 55 minutes and Talleres’ keeper Caranta rushed to midfield to protest at one of his teammates ending up on the ground beside the substitutes’ bench.
With an extra man advantage, Newell’s did anything but go for the jugular. Talleres looked comfortable in possession, dealing with attacks from the home side with ease. Newell’s marksman Scocco had little influence and Sebastián Palacios, so effective in the win over Lanús, was anonymous.
With 20 minutes left, a nifty 1-2 move led to the equaliser for the Córdoba side. Talented attacking midfielder Tomás Pochettino, who scored against Newell’s in the same fixture just a few weeks ago, rifled the ball past Ramiro Macagno after being set up by substitute Guilherme Parede.
Talleres looked the more likely as the clock counted down and Newell’s were lucky to come away with a point.
Frank Kudelka has a lot to think about before next weekend’s showdown with Boca Juniors at La Bombonera. Injuries and COVID-19 casualties continue to plague his side and with such a mix of energetic youth and skillful experience vying for places in the team, it’s clear that he’s still searching for the right balance to make this team click.
Anything but a win against Boca will confirm La Lepra’s place in the Losers section of the next stage of the Copa LPF.