Five wins now from the previous six clásicos speaks volumes about how the power has shifted in Rosario but Central’s current superiority was never clearer than on Sunday afternoon in the Gigante de Arroyito. Eduardo Coudet’s title hopefuls tore their city rivals to shreds and although the scoreline only reads 2-0, it could have been far more embarrassing for Newell’s Old Boys. Second half goals from Marcelo Larrondo and Marco Ruben sealed the victory and further enhanced the credentials of Central while for La Lepra it was the final blow to manager Lucas Bernardi, who was relieved of duty in the immediate aftermath.
During a goalless opening 45 minutes, Central had flexed their muscle without really getting out of first gear or threatening the Newell’s goal. A Larrondo header which was fairly routinely stopped by Ezequiel Unsain was perhaps the closest to an opener but with the visitors struggling to make any impression it was difficult to see how they could find a result.
After the break, Central stepped up a gear and after José Luis Fernández sent a warning when he struck the woodwork, it didn’t take long for the breakthrough the arrive. Fernández delivered from the left and when Sebastián Domínguez failed to clear, Marcelo Larrondo was able to slide the ball in from close range.
The pressure continued to increase and Marco Ruben, who returned to the side after a slight ankle injury, was perhaps lacking his usual sharpness and saw two chances sail over Unsain’s crossbar. However, the centre forward was still at the centre of Central’s threat and so when he was bundled over by Franco Escobar when bearing down on goal yet again, the defender was shown a red card and ended any slight hope of even a point for Newell’s.
The second goal did eventually come and it was Ruben; the striker deftly clipping the ball over Unsain after a wonderful passage of play had cut open the beleagured visiting defence. The superbly talented Giovani Lo Celso came within inches of a spectacular third when he lobbed Unsain from close to halfway but the crossbar denied him.
Two wins from two now for Central, whose bigger test will come when they need to juggle their Copa Libertadores commitments, while neighbours Newell’s are once again floundering. The hope that Bernardi would step up from player to coach has failed but their is a wider systemic issue at the club which has seen them decline rapidly since Gerardo Martino was in charge.