San Lorenzo and Racing Club had a share of the spoils as their opening Superliga game ended 1-1 in the Nuevo Gasómetro after Ezequiel Cerutti’s goal cancelled out Lisandro López’s opener.
Racing, who finished fourth last season, were looking to open their account with a big away win over one of their fellow ‘grandes’. Boosted by the instant starting places of new signings Lucas Orban, Enrique Triverio and Egidio Arevalo Rios respectively, La Academia set up in a 4-3-3 formation with Triverio looking to bolster the attacking line, linking up with Lisandro López.
San Lorenzo and manager Diego Aguirre were already feeling the pressure following their shock defeat at the hands of Deportivo Morón in the Copa Argentina. Former Fiorentina central defender Gonzalo Rodríguez looked to add experience and discipline to the San Lorenzo back line while Alexis Castro, another new signing started in the midfield of a 4-5-1 formation.
Racing started the brighter creating a number of early chances before forcing a breakthrough in the 13th minute. Lisandro López found himself on the end of an Augusto Solari drilled ball across the face of Nicolas Navarro’s penalty area, slotting away from six yards out to give Diego Cocca’s side a thoroughly deserved early lead.
This looked to be a wake up call for the home side, who through attacking midfielder Fernando Belluschi looked lively going forward. Arevalo Rios had the Racing midfield well organised and the experienced international’s influence was already clear in frustrating Los Cuervos.
San Lorenzo’s main openings came via the precise through balls of Franco Mussis, who slotted both Ezequiel Cerutti and Alexis Castro in only for the pair to fail to test young Juan Musso in the Racing goal.
Going into half time Racing would have been the happier of the two sides with their early goal, though as the half went on San Lorenzo grew into the game and everything that was good in the half came through the talented footwork of Fernando Belluschi.
The second half continued as the first had ended with the home side upping the pressure and the tempo as they looked to find an equaliser. Nicolas Blandi however remained anonymous in what must be a worry for Diego Aguirre heading into such a vital spell of his reign at the club. Chances fell to both Paulo Diaz and Alexis Castro early in the second half after quality set piece deliveries from Franco Mussis but yet again they were squandered.
Mussis, who ran the show for the home side deeper in midfield, decided to have a go himself with a delicately curled effort from 25 yards which went just wide of Juan Musso’s right post before eventually the pressure paid off. From the resulting set piece, Ezequiel Cerutti fired a bullet into the bottom right corner after the ball bounced around in the box before eventually rolling into his path on the edge of the box.
San Lorenzo had began to stretch the previously compact Racing midfield, though there was still no way past the solid Arevalo Rios in the heart of the away sides’ formation. Newboy Alexis Castro tested from range but to no avail, with him and Belluschi pulling the strings in a game that had opened up significantly in the second half.
Yet, it was Racing who had the next clear-cut opportunity as their quality on the break began to become apparent. Another recent signing Augusto Solari almost added a second assist as he squared the ball to Enrique Triverio whose stretching leg could only divert the ball onto the outside of the post.
The game was highly entertaining with the final half an hour open and expansive in both sides play, yet actual chances came at a minimum. Lisandro López had another chance on the break for Racing Club but his first touch let him down when through on goal and he watched in despair as the ball rolled into Navarro’s thankful gloves.
Both sides made a couple of substitutions each which stemmed the flow of the game, San Lorenzo finally caving in and taking off the ineffectual Nicolas Blandi with ten minutes to go. There was a large penalty claim from the Cuervos players after Arevalo Rios lunged in from behind on the silky Fernando Belluschi but replays showed that Belluschi had gone down very easily.
The final action was a point-securing save from Juan Musso in the Racing goal as yet another corner caused problems in the back line and a powerful header from Paulo Diaz looked to be heading goalwards until Musso got a strong hand to the ball to save his side.
All in all a 1-1 draw was a fair result with both sides having spells within the game but neither having the cutting edge to really create clear-cut chances as much as they would have liked.
Man of the Match – An obvious choice, Fernando Belluschi. It felt like he was everywhere on the pitch and without his skill and direct driving, San Lorenzo would probably have never got going in the game. He will be vital for Los Cuervos in games that are tight like this one to keep San Lorenzo ticking over in an attacking sense when needed.