There was nothing particularly illuminating about the first summer friendly in Mar del Plata of the year between San Lorenzo and Independiente and as always with these matches both managers will simply be pleased to have players come through unscathed with minutes under their belts.
Pablo Guede made his official debut as San Lorenzo boss but with eyes on the Supercopa against Boca Juniors on February 3rd, his team selection for this initial friendly was very much second-string. Mauricio Pellegrino, in the opposite dugout, named a stronger starting eleven but was still missing Diego Vera, Cebolla Rodríguez and Jesús Méndez, at least from the start, and of course is yet to complete deals for the reinforcements needed after the sales of Federico Mancuello and Matías Pisano.
With that in mind, the meeting between the two sides was about as exciting and competitive as one should expect from the opening preseason. San Lorenzo’s young side, which drew heavily from the reserves, who were crowned champions in 2015, perhaps shaded the exchanges and deservedly took the lead after the hour mark.
A long ball into the box was poorly defended by Gustavo Toledo and it allowed Nicolás Blandi to coast in behind, pull the ball down and steer it past Diego Rodríguez.
It appeared that would be enough for a debut victory for Guede but the introduction of Jesús Méndez saw Independiente take the initiative and with minutes remaining the influential midfielder swung in a free-kick which was headed in by Víctor Cuesta after some hesitant goalkeeping by Argentina under-20 international José Devecchi.
With both sides missing players, lacking match fitness and awaiting further reinforcements in the transfer window, marked improvements are expected by the time the season kicks off in February.