It may only be preseason but there is very little friendly about the Clásico Cordobés and so Belgrano’s victory over rivals Talleres on Sunday was celebrated wholeheatedly.
Despite their comfortable mid-table finish last season, Belgrano begin this Superliga campaign in the midst of a relegation battle and while there is a great distance yet to go, the early signs are good after battling to a win over a Talleres side that qualified for Copa Libertadores football last term.
Lucas Bernardi’s side looked defensively sound despite losing lynchpin Cristian Lema to Benfica and in captain Matías Suárez had the game’s standout player, a talent able to come up with those decisive moments on his day.
A brave Suárez diving header gave Belgrano the lead midway through the first half but it didn’t last long as a long throw into the penalty area caught goalkeeper César Rigamonti stranded and Javier Gandolfi’s looping header found the back of the net.
Belgrano remained the better side and shortly after the break Suárez raced away down the left and squared for Lucas Sequiera to tap in a second.
That proved enough for the win and with that timely morale boost Belgrano must now ensure the Superliga brings enough points to retain their top flight status.
Elsewhere in preseason, Unión defeated Newell’s Old Boys in the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory and progress to the semi finals in the annual Copa Santa Fe.
Newell’s had fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Unión in last week’s first leg but manager Omar de Felippe was left bitterly disappointed by his side’s performance back in Rosario. The visitors started far brighter and after 12 minutes a swift counter was rounded off by a towering Franco Soldano header.
With Lucas Gamba already gone, Unión deperately need Soldano in attack but with the 23-year-old attracting interest from Europe and Vélez Sarsfield, whether El Tatangue will hold onto their number nine looks ominous.
With little response from Newell’s that was enough and so Unión will play either Atlético de Rafaela or Unión de Sunchales in the semis.
Both sides could yet be dragged into the relegation battle this season and Newell’s after a pretty dreadful campaign last time out are yet to look like they have turned a corner.