Darren Paul watched the game of the weekend in Argentina’s second tier and will be providing regular updates from the Nacional B this season so watch this space.
Ferro Carril Oeste 4 (Castillejos, 2; Vernetti, 2)
Central Córdoba 3 (Mieres, Minadevino, Fernandez)
It was the home side who came away from Saturday night’s rain soaked thriller between Ferro and Central Cordoba in Caballito. In a game big on goals and big on incident it was Ferro who struck first and struck early, after a slick passing move started by debutant right-back Hernán Grana. With smart one twos and a neat flick on, Grana delivered a pinpoint accurate cross met bravely at the front post with a diving header from Gonzalo Castillejos.
Central Córdoba rallied and after a short period of sustained pressure equalised from a corner, Rodrigo Mieres stooping low to head home at the back post after the Ferro keeper Requena got caught in two minds about coming for the cross. The score was level for just 16 minutes and on 29 minutes Central Córdoba took the lead. A poorly placed goal kick lead the ball returning to Requena, the former Crucero del Norte keeper making his league debut for Ferro. Requena cleared the ball without taking a touch. The clearance travelled to only 25 yards out from goal straight to the feet of Minadevino who took one touch before thrashing the ball from the edge of the D past the stranded Requena to make it 2-1 to the visitors, to the despair of the home fans and the commentators alike.
The score would change again on the 34th minute, another cross being crucial for Ferro, this time a corner from the left. In a well polished move the ball was crossed to the edge of the area, where it was headed down into the six yard box. Central Cordoba’s defenders failed to clear the loose ball and were punished as a delightful flick of the outside right foot from Guillermo Vernetti brought the sides the level. Heredia in the Central goal cursing his defenders as Vernetti sprinted away in delight at scoring for the 8th time in 82 fixtures.
Vernetti would be celebrating again on the stroke of halftime; as another terrific cross was delivered into the box, headed goalward before the 23 year old Vernetti launched himself toward the ball volleying it at full stretch into the roof of the net. It demonstrated tremendous bravery from the young midfielder who got collected hard by the goal post, but he couldn’t care less as he raced away again, delighted with his second of the game for the men in green.
3-2 at halftime soon became 4-2 in the driving rain of Buenos Aires from the spot. Ferro won a free kick 30 yards from goal in a central position. Instead of going direct Ferro decided to capitalise on their superior crossing from wide areas by going short and wide and swinging in a cross. The ball was delivered from the right side, but was succesfully defended by the Central Córdoba defenders, running away for a goal kick. It was then that Referee, Emanuel Ejarque, who had been watching the action in the box intently, to the surprise of everyone watching blew up and pointed to the spot.
The penalty was awarded evidently for the faintest of shirt pulls from Central goalscorer Rodrigo Mieres. Twitter erupted, with humour, bemusement and disbelief at the penalty award, who were just as confused as the TYC Sports commentators who howled into their microphones over the apparent error of the man in the middle. The subsequent penalty was put away expertly by the Castillejos, who sent the keeper the wrong way before slotting it coolly into the bottom right hand corner.
Ferro looked in cruise control, and despite some good play from Central Córdoba looked comfortable as they headed towards the final whistle, on an excellent playing surface in spite of the conditions. On the 87th minute, pressure from Central Cordoba was rewarded with a corner, and the game’s final goal was scored. The corner kick was swung towards the back post as the towering defender Gabriel Fernandez, left unmarked, arrived on the corner of the 6 yard box and delivered a thundering header low towards goal, which struck the chest of Alderete, a Ferro substitute and bobbled past the helpless Requena in the Ferro goal.
For the final few minutes it looked like the door had been left open for a magnificent comeback against the odds, but time ran out on Central Cordoba as Snr Ejarque blew the final whistle, bringing an end to an exciting, end to end game of football. Both sides showed impressive ability to attack from wide areas, with a high volume of excellent crosses, and accurate, brave headers on show. Question marks will rightfully be raised about the refereeing on the penalty, and on Ferro’s 28 year old goalkeeper will not want to watch this one back after errors contributed to at least two of the three goals conceded.
Ferro played a flat 4-4-2 which was as aggressive as it was simple, every man had a job and appeared to understand it and act on it expertly, especially in attack. They exploited some weaknesses on the left side of Central Córdoba and their dominance in the air told when all was said and done. This was a very good way for Ferro to open the 2016-17 season, and a performance they can look to build a platform from. Central Córdoba can also take a lot of positives into the season where they will do very well if they continue playing in this style.
Heinze left cold following blow lead
Argentinos Juniors manager Gabriel Heinze was left wondering what could have been Sunday as he saw his side, relegated from the top flight in the transition season, squander a 2-0 lead away to newly promoted San Martin de Tucuman. The Bichos Colorados took the lead in the first half through a dubiously won corner, headed home by Nicolas Freire from close range. San Martin reacted to the goal by putting the visitors under huge pressure, winning corners but couldn’t find the net as Federico Lanzillota, the young Argentinos keeper, put on a masterclass.
The second half was playing out much as the first, both sides with chances in the wet Sunday afternoon, when Jonathan Sandoval doubled the advantage for Argentinos on the 6th minute of the half, a thumping header from a corner. Juniors should have been home and dry, but just two minutes later goalscoring hero Sandoval turned zero as he picked a red card for a clumsy off the ball foul.
Down to ten men with over 30 minutes of the second half to play Lanzillota was tested over and over but was putting on a match stealing performance. The pressure finally told with 10 minutes to go as a perfectly weighted through ball beat the offside trap and allowed Rodriguez to halve the advantage, slotting the ball past the onrushing Lanzillota. The comeback was complete on the 90th minute when Luciano Gonzalez, on as a second half substitute, beat the Argentinos full-back, dribbled into the area and centred the ball for Rodrigo Moreira to direct it into the bottom corner, across the body of the helpless Lanzillota. The goal was caused by two errors from centre-back Torren, who initially played onside Gonzalez and then moved out of position at the last moment allowing Moreira clear access to the square ball.
Sandoval’s lack of discipline cost Argentinos 2 points and the win on their first match down in the B Nacional since 2014 whereas San Martin de Tucuman showed terrific resilience to come back and claim a point. On another day Tucuman would surely have taken all 3 were it not for the excellence of the Argentinos keeper.
Salinas to the rescue as Chacarita held
In the other marquee fixture of the round Chacarita Juniors were held to a draw by ten man Instituto. After a goalless first half Diego Jara opened his account for the year breaking the deadlock on 57 minutes after a fantastic ball into the box, beating the offside trap and a very smart finish. Ten minutes later Instituto were down to ten men following a reckless foul from behind committed by Nizzo meant for an uncomfortable final 20 minutes for Instituto.
Last season’s runners up Chacarita applied the pressure before Salinas finally got the game back to even on the 87th minute, rising highest to head a cross low into the corner.Instituto had a final chance for the victory, as a ball into the box was turned goal wards, beat the keeper but to the anguish of the Instituto players beat the post, trickling out for a goal kick and the end of the game.
An interesting encounter between two of the divisions better sides, Chacarita will be one to watch to see if they can go one better and gain promotion at the end of the season.
The remainder of the results in the first round
All Boys 0 – 1 Bocas Unidos
Dalmine 5 – 0 Juventud Unida
Brown de Adrogue 2 – 0 Ramon Santamarina
Atletico Parana 0 – 2 Flandria
Douglas Haig 0 – 1 Los Andes
Guillermo Brown 1 – 0 Independiente Rivadavia
Sportivo Estudiantes 1 – 0 Gimnasia de Jujuy
Crucero del Norte 2 – 2 Nueva Chicago
Darren Paul is a UK based fan of Racing Club, most frequently found waxing lyrical about the first touch of Luciano Aued on a Saturday night. Fan of all tiers, all genders, all forms of the Argentine domestic game.
You can follow Darren on Twitter here www.twitter.com/auedstouch
He also does English commentary on various Argentine matches here www.rabble.tv/users/dfoulkes34/profile
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