Primera football returned to our screens on Friday night after a long summer of meaningless friendlies and transfer dealings. Rosario Central began, what all Canallas supporters will be hoping is another title challenge, with a narrow victory against Godoy Cruz; Banfield took full advantage of Gimnasia’s depleted ranks by notching an opening day win and Atlético Rafaela snatched a surprising but hugely important three points away to Huracán. El Globo may well be playing Copa Libertadores football this season but they are still in the midst of a relegation fight.
Given the key personnel that Banfield lost in this transfer window the assumption was that they would struggle this season, and so when the AFA announced their sanctions and banned almost all of the Gimnasia first team for their involvement in the preseason fight against Estudiantes, it came as timely boost. It took a little over 8 minutes for El Taladro to reap the benefits of this when captain Walter Erviti hit a sweetly struck volley past Enrique Bologna. Gimnasia ensured that they remained in the match but with minutes remaining Lihué Prichoda nodded in a second.
Meanwhile in Parque Patricios, Huracán made an awful start to their league campaign after Mauro Bogado’s horrible own-goal proved enough to gift Atlético Rafaela and unlikely win on the road. La Crema were one of the few teams worse than Huracán in the Primera in 2015 and as a result both are propping up the descenso table with a number of other clubs. If El Globo endure another league season like 2015, they will be dependent on others being even worse to stay in the top flight.
Finally in the Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario Central began their title challenge with a hard fought 1-0 win over Godoy Cruz. Eduardo Coudet’s side never produced some of the football that won them so many plaudits last season but managed to do enough to keep La Tomba at arms length. With Marco Ruben missing through injury, César Delgado was handed a starting spot and the veteran striker made the most of it, heading in the only goal of the game just before the half hour mark. A more rampant Central could probably have made things far more comfortable against what is a poor Godoy Cruz side but Coudet and his side will be relieved to have made a winning start to 2016.