Arguably Argentina’s most fierce rivalry, the Clásico Rosarino never fails to disappoint off the pitch at least and the supporters crammed into the Gigante de Arroyito ensured Sunday was no different. A spectacular sea of yellow and gold welcomed the teams and the 1-1 draw between Rosario Central and Newell’s Old Boys was certainly not the worst derby of recent time.
Despite both sides battling relegation they have started the Superliga season well and a confident Newell’s looked to take the early initiative. Maxi Rodríguez caused panic in the Central defence when he rounded goalkeeper Jeremías Ledesma and sparked a scramble in the penalty box but it was younger cousin Denis who came closest to breaking the deadlock, curling a shot against the crossbar.
Central though had their chances. Sebastián Ribas forced a save from from Alan Aguerre on the counter and after the break, the Newell’s goalkeeper was again called into action to keep out a good effort from Diego Zabala.
Leonardo Gil had flashed a free-kick just wide and as the hour mark passed, the game was wide open.
It was at this point that Newell’s took the initiative, a battered and bandaged up Cristian Lema rising unmarked to head the visitors in front.
That lead however lasted barely a minute as Claudio Riaño escaped in behind to steer a bouncing ball beyond Aguerre sparking wild celebration in the Gigante.
Neither could find a winner and although relegation remains a worry for both sides, Central are still unbeaten while Newell’s are level on ten points with a game in hand.
Rosario Central 1 – 1 Newell’s Old Boys
Earlier on Sunday there was an almost equally electric atmosphere in La Plata as Gimnasia supporters welcomed Diego Maradona to the dugout for the first time. Yet despite the boost of having the Argentina icon giving the instructions, Racing Club left El Bosque with all three points.
Gimnasia are in such deep relegation trouble for a reason and although Victor Ayala bent a free-kick close and Leonardo Morales forced Gabriel Arias to tip his header over the crossbar it was La Academia that led after 36 minutes. A corner from the left found Diego González and the midfielder’s header squirmed through the legs of Alexis Martín Arias and over the line.
Racing came within a whisker of doubling the lead shortly after the break as David Barbona rattled the crossbar and within minutes Gimnasia were level. A cross from the right looped into the penalty box and Matías García rose to nod the ball out of the reach of Gabriel Arias.
Maradona and his staff erupted in unison with El Bosque but before those celebrations had died down, Racing were back in front as Matías Zaracho beat the offside flag to toe poke the loose ball into the net.
Gimnasia pushed forward in their attempt to salvage at least a point and came close on a couple of occasions but when García blazed over in stoppage time, any last hope evaporated.
It wasn’t to be a debut victory for Maradona and Gimnasia are now eleven points from safety so there is little time for the new coach to settle in.
Elsewhere another recently appointed manager suffered defeat as Banfield fell 1-0 to Talleres.
Julio César Falcioni’s fourth spell in charge of Banfield was not met with the same level of excitement and although El Taladro were hoping for a change of fortune after Hernán Crespo, the same errors in front of goal cost them.
Nahuel Bustos headed the only goal for in-form Talleres but Banfield will rue Nicolás Bertolo’s saved penalty just before the break.