It will take more than a change of manager to fix the problems at Newell’s Old Boys but on Monday evening, Omar de Felippe’s first game in charge coincided with the best performance from La Lepra in a long time and a thoroughly deserved victory over San Martín.
Having strugged for goals all season, De Felippe was granted a dream start in the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa as Joaquín Torres nodded Héctor Fértoli’s deep cross past Luis Ardente inside two minutes.
Torres tormented the San Martín defence and in truth Newell’s should already have been further ahead when Luis Leal doubled the lead after half an hour with a scuffed shot into the bottom corner.
There was no shift in momentum after half time and only a string of saves by Ardente and some wasteful finishing prevented the scoreline from becoming embarrassing for the visitors.
With a lot more work to be done and all manner of off-field issues to resolve Newell’s are far from turned around but the somewhat underwhelming appointment of De Felippe could not have produced a better start.
Newell’s Old Boys 2 – 0 San Martín
Earlier in Santa Fe, Unión secured a first win in five and pushed Temperley a step further towards their inevitable relegation.
Centre forward Franco Soldano scored twice in the opening quarter of an hour to virtually end the game as a contest; the first a firm header and the second a near post flick at a corner.
It could have been worse for Temperley as first half substitute Santiago Lebus managed to miss an open goal from three yards out but despite the visitors hitting the woodwork, the result was wrapped up by Lucas Gamba’s penalty on the hour mark.
Unión remain in contention for Copa Sudamericana qualification while Temperley are counting the games until their relegation is confirmed.
Unión 3 – 0 Temperley
Lastly, in Florencio Varela, Defensa y Justicia goalkeeper Ezequiel Unsain was left in tears as Epifanio García’s long range effort sneaked past him to snatch Belgrano a last-gasp equaliser.
Ciro Rius tapping in fifteen minutes from time looked to have given the home side victory and when Belgrano saw Juan Quiroga sent off in the 88th minute that looked even more likely.
However, deep into stoppage time as Defensa y Justicia failed to keep possession, the ball fell to García and his first time shot from 30-plus yards appeared to catch Unsain by surprise, curling just out of reach of the young goalkeeper.
Caught slightly out of position, Unsain was inconsolable at full time as the result leaves Belgrano a point ahead of Defensa y Justicia in the final Copa Sudamericana qualification spot.