Independiente win in Rosario & Central Córdoba hold Banfield (FRIDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS)

Expectation has been low at Independiente due to troubles off the pitch yet Julio César Falcioni’s side picked up a third straight win on Friday evening beating Newell’s Old Boys at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa.

A quick start from the visitors saw Silvio Romero slip in Sebastián Palacios for the opening goal after nine minutes, the wide forward’s muted celebrations owing to him only returning to Independiente from Newell’s a little over a month ago.

Yet the goal captured a first half in which Independiente carried the far greater threat. With youngster Lucas González in midfield and the full-backs providing width, El Rojo moved the ball forward quickly and were too much for Newell’s on the counter.

The second goal came just after the half hour mark when Fabricio Bustos burst forward, exchanging passes with Palacios to lift the ball over Alan Aguerre.

Newell’s had a shout for a penalty but it was Independiente that came closest to adding the game’s third goal before referee Pablo Echavarría called time. If the visitors were on top for the first half, the roles were reversed after the break and when Maxi Rodríguez headed in from close range fifteen minutes from time the result looked far more uncertain.

Independiente held on and with it climbed level with Vélez at the top of Group B, having played a game more. Newell’s yet to win this season certainly improved after half time but will be concerned by their results.

Later in Santiago del Estero, Banfield were denied victory by Central Córdoba.

When Juan Álvarez eventually nodded Banfield in front after 70 minutes it looked as though Javier Sanguinetti’s side would be returning to winning ways after last week’s defeat to Colón. Yet no sooner had Banfield broken the deadlock, Central Córdoba were level, Milton Gimenez sweeping in at a corner.

A share of the points and while Banfield’s expectation may have been skewed by their run to the Copa Diego Maradona final, a positive start to this campaign for both teams.