The biggest game of the weekend undoubtedly took place in Rosario and while the title or league position was not of any real importance, one of Argentina’s fiercest derbies ensured that it was compulsive viewing. Central have enjoyed superiority in recent years but despite Newell’s Old Boys ending a dreadful run with victory last season, it was El Canalla who triumphed on home soil.
Germán Herrera’s early goal proved enough as Newell’s were unable to find a way through what has become a well-drilled unit since Leonardo Fernández took over from Paolo Montero.
The crowd and those watching on television were still marvelling at Central’s enormous pre-match banner when Herrera headed in from a corner inside two minutes.
Enjoy Rosario Central’s ‘longest banner in the world’ from Sunday’s #ClasicoRosarino – 500 metres by 40 metres it took up three of the four stands at the Gigante de Arroyito https://t.co/0Rp5iVz1GO
A game of few clear chances saw both sides try their luck from distance on occasion but neither goalkeeper was particularly worked.
A clásico defeat always hurts but for Newell’s it is another example of their crippling inconsistency this season and for which Juan Manuel Llop may soon start to feel the pressure. La Lepra only need to look at the change in fortune at rivals Central since Paolo Montero left – winless under the Uruguayan, El Canalla have now won three on the bounce and crucially claimed another derby.
Later in Avellaneda, Racing Club ensured that the year finished on a high with victory over Gimnasia after what has been a disappointing few months for La Academia.
In-form Brahian Aléman stunned the Cilindro with a sweetly struck free kick in the opening minutes but Racing responded well and after going close eventually drew level, Lisandro López tapping in from close range during first half stoppage time.
Lautaro Martínez, who reportedly completed a deal with Atlético Madrid this week, went close to giving Racing the lead after the break when his curling effort hit the post but it wasn’t long until La Academia led. Martínez’s cross from the right was perfect and López arrived to power a diving header past Alexis Arias.
Deep in injury time, Martínez got the goal he deserved after being tripped in the penalty box. The youngster’s initial effort was saved but he was on hand to score the rebound and make certain of victory.
With president Victor Blanco securing another term on the same day, the club can now appoint a new manager to replace Diego Cocca and look to a much brighter 2018.