Arsenal will likely need a miracle to avoid relegation this season but what Sergio Rondina’s side will certainly have to do is avoid throwing points away as they did away to Newell’s Old Boys on Saturday.
Sebastián Lomónaco’s missed clearance in stoppage time allowed youngster Joaquín Varela to snatch victory for La Lepra when it appeared as though the two sides would be sharing the points.
Newell’s had been the better side as would have been expected in the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa against a bottom of the table Arsenal side but Alejo Antilef had pounced on some sloppy defending by the home side to cancel out Luis Leal’s second half opener.
It was hardly the performance that will have Newell’s supporters thinking that a corner has been turned but it’s a positive result to begin the year over an Arsenal side whose time in the top flight is now on borrowed time.
While Arsenal’s relegation looks certain, Vélez Sarsfield are hoping to secure their safety and after a hugely positive summer of reinforcements, Gabriel Heinze’s side began 2018 with victory.
Unable to field returning hero Mauro Zárate due to the transfer paperwork arriving late to the AFA, Heinze will know that there is more to come from his team after being indebted to goalkeeper César Rigamonti for the 1-0 win over Defensa y Justicia in Florencio Varela.
Vélez led after half an hour when Rafael Delgado clumsily brought down Hernán de la Fuente allowing Luis Amarillo to score from the penalty spot but after the break El Halcón will feel they did more than enough to warrant a point.
Rigamonti made a number of excellent stops to deny the home side and the occasion the goalkeeper was beaten, de la Fuente got back to clear off the line. Defensa y Justicia finished the game with ten men when Juan Kaprof saw red late on but by that point, it seemed clear that it wasn’t to be their day.
Newell’s Old Boys 2 – 1 Arsenal
Defensa y Justicia 0 – 1 Vélez Sarsfield