It’s been a while since Independiente’s profligacy in front of goal cost them but as the Superliga resumed for 2018 on Wednesday evening, El Rojo managed to only take a point from their rearranged fixture against Rosario Central despite rattling the woodwork on three separate occasions during a dominant second half performance.
Despite this Central could have snatched victory at the death were it not for misses by Federico Carrizo and Germán Herrera. However, out of the two managers, Ariel Holan will have been left scratching his head as to how his side were not celebrating victory after an exciting opening encounter of the new year.
A somewhat ragged first half was perhaps expected after the summer break but Independiente had just begun to assert some pressure and gone close through Nicolás Domingo when Central broke the deadlock.
Leonardo Gil swung a free kick into the box from deep and as Fernando Amorebieta got caught under the ball, the impressive Fernando Zampedri headed the ball past Martín Campaña.
Independiente were immediately more aggressive after the break and within two minutes, Juan Sánchez Miño drew a decent stop from Jeremias Ledesma from which Emmanuel Gigliotti couldn’t quite steer in the rebound.
This set the tone for almost the entire next 45 minutes as Ledesma kept out Leandro Fernández before El Rojo eventually found a way through. An outstanding passage of play involving Maxi Meza, Martin Benitez and Fabricio Bustos worked the ball to Gigliotti’s finish that came off the post and Ledesma before finding the net.
The home side sensed there was more to come and in truth two or three more should have done.
Everything that Independiente threw at Central, Ledesma was equal to and on the three occasions the goalkeeper was beaten, the ball came back off the woodwork. First Leandro Fernández cracked a shot against the crossbar from an acute angle, then Martin Benitez rifled the ball against the inside of the post from distance and finally his unmarked header rebounded to safety.
With Independiente throwing more players forward in an attempt to force the winner, Central could have snatched all three points as Carrizo scuffed a clear chance and substitute Herrera blazed over when one-on-one with Campaña.
Frustration for Independiente, who climbed into fourth with the point, but there is little time to dwell on the result. Ariel Holan will be hoping for some reinforcements to be confirmed in the next 24 hours before welcoming Estudiantes to Avellaneda on Monday evening.