Newell’s Old Boys 0
🏟️ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, Rosario
Referee Diego Abal took all the headlines in Rosario as home side Newell’s Old Boys claimed he should have awarded a penalty to them not once, but twice in front of a lively home crowd. His failure to point to the spot on two occasions meant he was surrounded by Lepra players at the end of both halves. At the end of the first half, Tití Rodríguez touched the ball with his hand while lying on the ground in the box but Abal judged a foul against him by Angelo Gabrielli. Even more controversially, Maxi Rodríguez was left irate after he felt he had been clipped by Federico González, having turned inside the Estudiantes forward in the box deep into injury-time in what looked like a promising chance for a late winner.
VIDEO: Maxi Rodríguez is brought down in the box.
The penalty claims by Newell’s somewhat overshadowed the fact that Estudiantes had the best chances in the game. It was up to outstanding goalkeeper Alan Aguerre to save La Lepra, pulling off a magnificent one-on-one save when Diego Garcia was put through on goal.
Newell’s Old Boys left the game with 1 point but also with a number of casualties. Mauro Formica was replaced after 23 minutes by Braian Rivero while Angelo Gabrielli ended the game hobbling around in the centre-forward position, where manager Frank Kudelka ordered him to play after he pulled his hamstring but couldn’t come off due to Kudelka already having made three substitutions. The second player to come off, Lucas Albertengo, looked to be a tactical switch by Kudelka, but he was pictured with an ice-pack on his leg after taking his place on the bench.
The loss of Formica paves the way for new signing Pablo Pérez to make his debut in the Newell’s midfield away to Lanús next Sunday while Facundo Nadalin is a natural replacement for Gabrielli if he is looking at a long spell on the sidelines. Pérez was in the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa on Saturday night and must have been impressed by the veteran Javier Mascherano who ran parts of the game for Estudiantes, spraying passes to the wings and winning fair but hard tackles with ease. Mascherano embraced Newell’s captain Maxi Rodríguez after the final whistle, the two ex-Liverpool stars recognising that home is where the heart is as they both get closer to added time in their careers on the pitch.
A lack of shots on target will worry Newell’s manager Frank Kudelka but once again, his defence was water-tight, with Santiago Gentiletti and Mariano Bittolo in particular playing influential roles in ensuring that Newell’s Old Boys are still unbeaten in 2020.