Independiente against Belgrano was perhaps the pick of the opening weekend’s fixtures after the two sides finished in the pre-Libertadores spots last season. Neither managed to qualify but ahead of a new season both arrived with fresh optimism. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and a torrential downpour rendered much of the match virtually unplayable. With a goalless draw looking likely, Independiente introduced Germán ‘El Tanque’ Denis and with minutes remaining, the burly centre-forward combined with Rodrigo Gómez, who slid the ball across goal for Emiliano Rigoni to mark his debut with a goal against the team he left just weeks ago.
It wasn’t a pretty way to begin the season but it is a significant three points for El Rojo, who were missing six first team players and had to contend with Cebolla Rodríguez limping off after just 25 minutes. Mauricio Pellegrino will know that his side have plenty more in the tank but a winning start will only boost confidence.
Later in Santa Fe, on loan San Lorenzo midfielder Alan Ruíz proved to be the key figure in the clash between Colón and Arsenal. Ruíz converted an early penalty and soon after added a second as the home side dominated a completely new look (but still rather poor) Arsenal side. Two down, the visitors needed a break and they got one twenty minutes into the second half when Ruíz was shown a red card for an ugly lunge on Gonzalo Papa. However, Sergio Rondina’s side were unable to pull a goal back until stoppage time, through Joaquín Boghossian, and it proved too late.
Independiente 1 – 0 Belgrano
Colón 2 – 1 Arsenal de Sarandí