Three of the “big 5” were in action on Sunday but it was only River Plate who had anything to celebrate when the final whistles blew. River finally got some sort of revenge over Belgrano in Cordoba, the team who defeated them in the playoff in 2011 condemning them to relegation and humiliation. Lionel Vangioni and Carlos Luna got the all important goals and gave River a good start to the championship. The same could not be said for Racing and Independiente. Racing on the end of a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Atletico Rafaela and Independiente losing 3-1 to Newell’s amid torrential rain in Avellaneda. REPORTS AND HIGHLIGHTS BELOW…
BELGRANO 1 – 2 RIVER PLATE
Perhaps the most interesting fixture of the opening weekend saw River Plate visit the scene of the one of the darkest days in the clubs history. In 2011 Belgrano defeated River and sent River down to the Primera B Nacional and this was a chance for redemption. After a fairly uneventful first half River found themselves down to 10 men shortly after when Lenardo Ponzio was sent off but Belgrano failed to use this to their advantage. It was instead River who came to life in the 68th minute when summer signing, ex-Newell’s defender fired in a thunderous shot from range. A great way to start your career playing for Los Millonarios after some initial scepticism about the signing from the River faithful. With 2 minutes remaining River sealed it when a long ball over the top was chased down by Carlos Luna and he calmly slotted it home. There was still time for Belgrano to snatch a consolation, through Guillermo Farro, and set up an edgy couple of minutes but River held on for a valuable 3 points and revenge over rivals Belgrano.
AT. RAFAELA 3 – 0 RACING
Racing got their tournament off to an awful start with defeat in Cordoba. Two first half penalties, first converted by Lucas Bovaglio and the second by Sebastian Grazzini proved too much to turn around for Racing. Shortly after half time their day was made even worse when Jonathan Lopez made it 3. This result will do little to improve the spirits of the Racing fans who feel their summer transfer dealings were poor.
INDEPENDIENTE 1 – 3 NEWELL’S OLD BOYS
The other side of Avellaneda didn’t fare any better as Independiente slumped to another defeat in what will surely be there last season in the top flight but they will look back on this game and think how differently it could have turned out had they taken their chances. Newell’s took the lead after 17 minutes when last season’s top goal scorer, Ignacio Scocco outjumped his marker and despite a hint of climbing and the protests of Independiente the goal stood. The lead didn’t last long though as defender Cristian Tula headed hom Daniel Montenegro’s free kick and at this stage Independiente were looking good and creating chances. Heavy rain started to fall before half time and this had an impact on the remainder of the game as the pitch gradually deteriorated but Independiente can have no excuses over the missed chances they had in the second half. First, new signing, Juan Caicedo put the ball wide when put through on goal and then moments later, after the same player was fouled in the box, Independiente striker Ernesto Farias sent the resulting penalty high and wide. Moments later, Newell’s punished this profligacy when Scocco got his second of the game and as the game became increasingly open Newell’s wrapped things up with a third from Pablo Perez.