A fascinating Torneo Inicial has come to an end and to the relief of San Lorenzo, their 0-0 draw in Liniers with Velez Sarsfield was enough to capture the title. The draw meant that a winner in Rosario between Newell’s Old Boys and Lanus would have forced a playoff but Lanus fought back twice to force a 2-2 draw and so hand the trophy to El Ciclon. WATCH ALL THE ACTION HERE….
A dramatic last day of the Torneo Inicial saw the top 4 face each other in a winner takes all set up. Although the match in Liniers failed to ever really ignite, the drama created by goings-on in Rosario led to a tense and enthralling final round.
As leaders before the games, San Lorenzo were in pole position and perhaps the pressure of the stakes led to a pretty tight affair in their match with Velez. El Ciclon started well and thought they should have had a penalty in the first half after some fairly physical marking at a corner but genuine chances were few and far between.
Over in Rosario, Newells and Lanus was a more open affair but both games ended goalless at the break. It was after the interval that things got very exciting.
After 53 minutes, Pablo Perez forced Newell’s in front following a corner that was never quite dealt with and with that momentarily meant that Alfredo Berti’s boys joined San Lorenzo at the summit and would force a playoff.
However, minutes later we were back to square one as Lanus defender, Paolo Goltz headed them level. Both these sides knew that a win, in the event that San Lorenzo failed to do so, would mean they could be crowned champions and so in search of more goals the game opened up.
Newell’s led again with over 20 minutes remaining as Carlos Izquierdoz inadvertently headed past Agustin Marchesin in an effort to stop a shot but once again Lanus roared back. A cross from the right was headed into the top corner by Jorge Pereyra Díaz to tie it up once again.
As they fought it out to find a winner, Velez pushed San Lorenzo further and further back. Agustín Allione came closest when his shot struck the post with Sebastián Torrico beaten but the game remained goalless.
With minutes remaining, Allione again shot at goal only to see his effort this time spectacularly palmed away by Torrico. The save was the last meaningful action of the game and in the process ensured El Ciclon would lift their 15th title.
Despite pushing neither Newell’s or Lanus could find a winner and so when the final whistle blew in Rosario, celebrations erupted in Liniers and on the streets of Boedo.
San Lorenzo are worthy winners in a remarkably open Torneo Inicial even though their form in these last few weeks has almost let it slip. With no one else seemingly able to mount a significant challenge, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side are deserved champions.