A surprising top of the table clash on Friday evening saw San Lorenzo inflict a first defeat of the season on newly promoted Arsenal and in turn Juan Antonio Pizzi’s unbeaten side now sit top of the Superliga.
San Lorenzo’s improvement since parting ways with manager Jorge Almirón and having a terrific transfer window is perhaps not so much of a shock but Arsenal’s three straight victories on return to the top flight had taken all by surprise.
Yet to concede before Friday evening, Arsenal’s confidence was clear and San Lorenzo were rightly wary. An even opening to the game saw Marcos Senesi and Franco Sbuttoni go close at either end from set-pieces and San Lorenzo goalkeeper Nicolás Navarro was forced into a flying save to keep out Nicolás Giménez’s well struck free-kick.
However it was the visitors who broke the deadlock just after the half hour mark. A quick throw-in down the right found its way to Lucas Menossi and the midfielder slipped in debutant Juan Ramírez to slide the ball under Maximiliano Gagliardo.
Arsenal’s first goal conceded in the Superliga was soon followed by a second. Víctor Salazar burst down the right and the full-back rolled the ball across for captain Nicolás Blandi to finish instinctively. San Lorenzo were cruising and for Blandi, reinstated into the starting eleven after coming close to leaving the club, it was a moment of redemption. The supporters had never doubted the 29-year-old but Blandi’s days at the Nuevo Gasómetro had looked numbered only a matter of weeks ago.
Eight goals in four games, San Lorenzo’s transformation from the unimaginative, blunt attack of Almirón is clear but they have also looked defensively fragile at times this season and Arsenal came within a whisker of pulling a goal back early in the second half.
Gastón Álvarez Suárez headed across goal and Sbuttoni’s sliding poke towards goal followed by Navarro’s reflex touch saw the ball strike the post and bobble to safety.
It would prove to be Álvarez Suárez’s last contribution. The midfielder was shown a second yellow card for a shirt pull on Fernando Belluschi and with his departure, Arsenal’s hopes of a comeback faded.
San Lorenzo held on comfortably and with two points dropped from a possible twelve, even at this early stage Juan Antonio Pizzi might just be eying another title challenge.