Two of the five grandes began their campaigns on Saturday evening and while both harbour ambitions of lifting the title, their poor preseasons continued into the opening weekend of the Primera. Boca Juniors title defence took them just a few miles south to face Temperley and without ever clicking into gear, Los Celestes were able to defiantly hold them to a valuable goalless draw. While earlier, in Paraná, newly promoted Patronato were supposed to find out just how difficult top flight football is but instead stunned title hopefuls, San Lorenzo. The minnows led twice before Los Cuervos came back to salvage a point.
Under Edgardo Bauza, San Lorenzo not only captured the Copa Libertadores in 2014 but last season they pushed Boca Juniors all the way in the title race and ended the season with the best defensive record in Argentina. Many criticised Bauza over his conservative approach but few could argue with his results. Pablo Guede replaced the now São Paulo manager and found the art of keeping clean sheets far more difficult during preseason. In Mar del Plata, Los Cuervos conceded seven goals in their three matches and worryingly this form extended into Guede’s competitive debut yesterday.
Fernando Telechea gave the home side a dream start when San Lorenzo failed to defend a corner adequately and allowed the striker to volley the ball past Sebastián Torrico after only eleven minutes. El Patrón were more than holding their own against their far grander opposition but on the stroke of half-time, Leandro Romagnoli bent an inch-perfect free kick over the wall and in off the post for a perfectly timed equaliser.
However, not to be disheartened, Patronato started the second half the better and retook the lead when Fernando de la Fuente swept in a brisk counter attack. San Lorenzo were gifted a route level when Abel Masuero scythed down Ezequiel Cerutti, allowing Néstor Ortigoza to slot in his first of the season from the penalty spot but even with 25 minutes remaining Los Cuervos couldn’t find a winner. It is still early days for Pablo Guede but he must find a way of tightening the defence quickly. Too many more results like this and they could find themselves out of the title race already.
Boca Juniors also endured a pretty miserable preseason and after the highs of completing a league and cup double in 2015, Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s side were brought back down to earth with two superclásico defeats. There was little improvement on Saturday night and Temperley were good value for the draw as they frustrated a clearly out of sorts, Carlos Tevez.
It would appear a good time to face Boca, with Tevez struggling for form and the likes of Dani Osvaldo out through injury. Whereas in 2015, when Los Xeneizes were often below-par but found a way to win, without Tevez’s inspiration they were unable to do so in the Estadio Alfredo Beranger.
Much like San Lorenzo, with this short tournament, Boca are not able to dwell too much on this result as too many dropped points may already leave too much of a task. A kind fixture list has Boca not facing another title challenger until Racing in week five, so they must find their way before then.