Diego Maradona took centre stage once more on Monday evening but the joy from a warm welcome in Córdoba quickly turned to frustration as his Gimnasia side were undone by a controversial penalty.
No other away team manager could demand such a reception as the one Talleres gave Diego Maradona at the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes. The excitement and press attention around Gimnasia has not yet dwindled but sat thirteen points from safety in the relegation zone there is no time to sit back and bask.
Maradona had felt hard done by after the defeat to Racing Club in his opening game and his Gimnasia were immediately up against it once again in Córdoba when Jonathan Menéndez tapped the home side in front after eleven minutes.
The only side yet to win a league game and scoring only three goals in six before the trip to Córdoba it is clear that Maradona has a huge task ahead if El Lobo are to miraculously beat relegation. His side failed to pose much of a threat to the Talleres goal during an uneventful opening 45 minutes.
That changed however straight after the restart as Manuel Guanini rose at a corner to power a header past Guido Herrera.
Maradona’s typically demonstrative celebration captured the moment and Gimnasia sensed that they could still earn what would have been a vital victory.
Hernán Mastrángelo had other ideas. The referee pointed to the spot with less than fifteen minutes remaining when Nahuel Bustos fell to the ground under the attention of Marco Torsiglieri. The contact was minimal, the decision generous in the extreme and Dayro Moreno stepped up to compound Gimnasia’s misery.
A brief glimpse of hope came when Mastrángelo showed Talleres midfielder Andrés Cubas a harsh second yellow card but the referee would soon level things up with a red card to Gimnasia’s Matías Garcia.
Moreno would have another chance when a second penalty was awarded in stoppage time but on this occasion the post denied the Colombian.
“He’s already bad. He was born bad and he will die bad,” was Maradona’s opinion of Mastrángelo and while the Superliga officiating will once again come under scrutiny it matters little to Gimnasia, who are dangerously adrift from a pack of teams showing the ability to pick up points themselves.