COPA LIGA PROFESIONAL DE FUTBOL
Newell’s Old Boys 1
🏟️ Estadio Mario Kempes, Córdoba
Newell’s Old Boys got off to a disappointing start in the new Copa Liga Profesional de Fútbol, losing 3-1 away to Talleres in Friday night’s opener.
The main talking point of the opening 45 minutes was a penalty claim that was ignored.
Ignacio Scocco thought he should have been awarded a spot kick after a quarter of an hour. He was pulled down in the box by his shirt as he waited for a corner to come in but the referee missed it. VAR has yet to be introduced in Argentina so a second opinion couldn’t be requested.
The scoreless first half, in which Newell’s controlled possession without threatening the home side, stood in contrast to the eventful second half which saw four goals hit the net and a red card produced by referee Darío Herrera.
A lapse of defensive concentration saw Talleres take the lead on 52 minutes as wing-back Nahuel Tenaglia, a player signed by Newell’s manager Frank Kudelka when he was at Talleres, snuck in at the back post to stab a cross home. The Newell’s back four had squeezed into a narrow shape that left acres of space on the wings and to their detriment, Tenaglia was left unmarked and in the perfect position to score.
It went from bad to worse for La Lepra ten minutes later when centre-back Fabricio Fontanini was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Diego Valoyes. It was a 50/50 that Fontanini lost rather than a challenge that was malicious or violent but the referee deemed him the last man and didn’t hesitate in reducing Newell’s down to ten men.
Rather than bringing on a replacement for Fontanini, Frank Kudelka moved to a back three with defensive midfielder Julián Fernández dropping back at times to help Santiago Gentiletti. The dismissal of Fontanini didn’t stop Newell’s from attacking and after 76 minutes they managed to grab an equaliser against all odds.
Substitute Francisco González floated a cross onto the head of the rising Ignacio Scocco and his header was on-target, beating keeper Mauricio Caranta.
Newell’s were still celebrating the goal when Talleres took the lead again. The impressive Tomás Pochettino went straight up the other end and fired past Alan Aguerre in the Newell’s net to restore their advantage.
It was game, set and match on 84 minutes as Valoyes added a third goal for the Córdoba side. A tired and frustrated Newell’s were left unable to reply as Talleres’ one-man advantage became more and more obvious.
The defeat, although it was only the opening game, leaves Frank Kudelka’s side in a precarious position. Up next for Newell’s is Boca Juniors and they have to plan for that game without the services of centre-back Fabricio Fontanini who will be suspended.
It spoke volumes that Kudelka did not trust new signing Manuel Guanini enough to substitute him on after Fontanini was sent-off. Guanini struggled in a number of pre-season games and looked well below the standard expected.
Without the services of Cristian Lema, Newell’s outstanding on-loan defender from last season, there is suddenly a gaping hole in that area of the pitch especially with Fontanini now serving a ban.
Overall, it was a poor showing from Newell’s all over the pitch. Maxi Rodríguez and Pablo Pérez both really struggled with the pace of the game and Scocco found it hard to make an impact from the wide position he started in. Julián Fernández was one of the better players but his midfielder partner Aníbal Moreno needs to show more in a Newell’s shirt and has a tendency to let his aggression get the better of him at times.
On Sunday 8 November, Newell’s Old Boys will welcome Boca Juniors to the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa.