Written by Darren Paul
Rosario Central 0
Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata 1 (Sosa, 79)
Friday 24th June 2022
Gigante de Arroyito
Ref: Patricio Loustau
Carlos Tevez’s managerial debut at the helm of Rosario Central ended in a home defeat to Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata thanks to a Ramón Sosa strike Tevez himself would have been proud of.
The first half set the table for what would follow, with both sides generating a few good chances, but largely cancelling each other out. Gimnasia started the brighter of the two teams and had the ball in the net after 11 minutes, but Ramon Sosa’s effort was ruled out as the Paraguayan had strayed offside on the pass that carved open the Central defence.
Central did not register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes but did generate some good opportunities attacking down the left-hand side. On numerous occasions in the early going, Central drove down the left flank and played balls to Gamba attacking Rodrigo Rey’s near post.
The link-up play of Central’s Lautaro Blanco, Marcelo Benitez and captain Lucas Gamba at the 23-minute mark saw the ball trickle across a wide-open goal. A beautiful ball from Cristian Baez out of defence was cushioned into the path of Benitez who squared it to Gamba, whose audacious flick-on merely helped the ball on its path out of play. That was the best chance either side had in the opening term.
Outside of the early minutes, Gimnasia seemed content to soak up pressure from the hosts without asking many questions of Central’s defenders.
Gimnasia started the second half as they had the first, playing attack-minded probing football and won three corners in succession, to no avail. After sustaining the early pressure Central searched for an opener, with a quick fire Gino Infantino effort from the edge of the area just heading over the bar after Piris lost possession in a dangerous area.
Gimnasia captain Brahian Alemán had a solid outing and came close midway through the half as his curling free-kick, won by Lautaro Chávez, hit the outside of the net but the warning signs were there for Central of the attacking intent of Gimnasia. As they had in the first half, Central continued to win corner kicks and their best chance of the second half fell at the feet of Báez. A corner was poorly cleared and as it was launched back into the box Báez met it well but straight into the grateful clutches of Rodrigo Rey.
Both sides made changes and the game looked like heading to a draw until, with ten minutes left in the contest, Gimnasia found the net. Alemán played a perfect ball over the top, which Sosa brought down and slotted home, low across the body of Gaspar Servio who could do nothing about the fine finish.
Tevez’s men pushed on with a newfound urgency and searched hard for an equaliser, but ultimately they were blunt in attack, despite finding themselves in good positions at times throughout the game. Gimnasia were worth their win, although their attacking performance is not on par with their midweek win over Racing, Friday’s win remains intact their unbeaten start to the season and keeps them in the third position to kick off the weekend.
As for Rosario Central and Carlos Tevez, there were positives to take from the game. On another day Gamba’s efforts at the near post may have found the target, and the way they fought for a point after conceding will please the rookie coach. Much work, however, on finishing will be needed for Central who this season have scored just once in the league, and took until the 63rd minute to record a shot on target.
Tevez’s next test will be away to bottom-side Aldosivi whilst a buoyant Gimnasia will face 27th placed Defensa y Justicia.
Rosario Central (4-4-2) Servio; Martinez, (Torrent), Baez, Almada, Blanco; Infantino (Bounanotte), Montoya, Tanlongo, Benitez; Veliz, Gamba (Covea)
Gimnasia (4-4-2) Rey; Enrique, Morales, Piris, Melluso; Chavez (Dominguez), Cardozo, Aleman, Sosa; Ramirez (Insaurralde), Soldano (Fratta)