Avoiding relegation was supposed to be Newell’s Old Boys primary objective this season and it still is as long as it is a possibility but such is the nature of Argentine football that La Lepra also have the look of a side battling near the top of the Superliga. A fourth win of the season against Aldosivi on Sunday pushed Newell’s up to fourth and with their game still in hand, Frank Kudelka’s side could go second, just a point behind leaders Boca.
Aldosivi, the visitors to the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, are a direct rival in the battle for survival yet it took Newell’s only a few minutes to take the lead as the impressive Jerónimo Cacciabue bent the ball into the top corner from a pocket of space outside the penalty area.
A correct offside flag denied Aldosivi an equaliser and it was the closest that the visitors came to forcing their way back into the game.
Newell’s remained on top but had to wait until ten minutes from time to wrap up the points. Aldosivi failed to clear their lines and as the ball looped back into the box, Cristian Lema saw a volley saved by Luciano Pocrnjic only for Julián Fernández to nod in the rebound.
There are a number of improvements that Newell’s have made under Kudelka but Lema and Fernández combining for the second highlights how important the last transfer window was. Both have made outstanding starts in Rosario and while title talk may still be fanciful, Newell’s are pulling away from the drop zone with ease.
Newell’s Old Boys 2 – 0 Aldosivi
Lanús have also taken huge strides forward and a 20-minute blitz was enough to give El Granate victory over Copa Sudamericana semi-finalists Colón.
The visitors to La Fortaleza perhaps still had their minds on next week’s second leg against Atlético Mineiro in Belo Horizonte and their absent defence was ruthlessly exposed by Luis Zubeldia’s in-form team. Carlos Auzqui tapped in the opener after only a couple of minutes and even after the let off of seeing Marcelino Moreno miss the target from just yards out Colón still found themselves further behind.
One week on from scoring against Independiente, defender Lautaro Valenti repeated the trick with another low free-kick skimming into the bottom corner and moments later a clumsy challenge by Franco Quiroz on Auzqui allowed José Sand to make it three inside 20 minutes.
It could have been worse for Colón with Leonel Di Plácido clattering a shot against the crossbar yet even without a fourth, the game looked as good as over.
However, Colón awoke after the break and Sand conceding a penalty at the other end saw Nicolás Leguizamón immediately reduce the deficit.
Agustín Rossi tipped a Tomás Chancalay effort against the bar and when Matías Fritzler found the bottom corner to make it 3-2 with ten minutes to go, there were some nervy faces around La Fortaleza.
Lanús avoided any late drama and held on for the points and just like Newell’s it would appear that El Granate have little to fear with regards relegation.
Lanús 3 – 2 Colón
Banfield will be hoping that they too can turn things around and that the start of the process is underway as Julio César Falcioni earned his first win since returning as manager over Godoy Cruz.
The hosts, who themselves are waiting to appoint a new coach, may wonder how they ended up losing the game after dominating for large parts but ultimately paid the price for wasting chances.
Leandro Vella spurned a one-on-one, Miguel Jacquet saw a goal disallowed thanks to Gabriel Alanís’ involvement in an offside position, Néstor Breitenbruch hit the crossbar and Banfield goalkeeper Leandro Conde was forced into action all before Junior Arias headed the visitors in front after 36 minutes.
And instead of being able to find an equaliser, Godoy Cruz found themselves two down before the hour mark, Tomás Cardona bringing down Nicolás Bertolo and Julián Carranza calmly slotting in.
One win in seven for Godoy Cruz and with Juan Pablo Vojvoda expected to take over as manager El Tomba need an immediate response.