In a dire match in Mar del Plata, Independiente and San Lorenzo drew 1-1 in the Torneo de Verano. Once again, it was a match which saw a mix of first-teamers and reserves, with Pedro Troglio sending out a more or less full-strength Rojo side and Ramón Díaz preferring to experiment with kids and substitutes for San Lorenzo.
Díaz’s boys ended the match with ten men following the second half expulsion of forward Juan Carlos Menseguez after the former River and Wolfsburg player went in hard of Independiente midfielder Gastón Machín.
Troglio experimented a little for the match, switching to a 3-4-1-2, and San Lorenzo took advantage by starting the stronger, taking the game to their opponents. Jonathan Bottinelli was very definitely a target man for set-piece deliveries, the centre-back going close with one headed effort which left Fabián Assman stranded. The main facet, though, was a distinctly un-friendly tackling policy on both sides, Daniel Montenegro constantly fouled whilst fellow Independiente midfielder Mariano Herrón had to leave the field midway through the first half.
It was Montenegro who set up the opener for – who else? – Germán Denis in the 32nd minute. Rolfi centred the ball for Denis to head deftly in, and Independiente could celebrate something after the hard experience San Lorenzo had put them through in the opening half-hour.
The second half saw more of the same, with neither goalkeeper having very much to do at all. Menseguez’s sending off complicated things for San Lorenzo, but they responded with a goal at last in the 66th minute from another header – this time from Bernardo Romeo, who got to a cross put in from the right for a spectacular headed goal into the top corner. Without looking for it, El Granate had their equaliser.
Troglio’s response was to send on Patricio Rodríguez, the 17-year-old of the spectacular twenty-yard strike against Boca last week, who with his very first contribution almost scored, racing onto a Montenegro through ball, rounding Agustín Orión in the San Lorenzo goal and watching as Bottinelli cleared his shot off the line. Minutes later, he almost forced an own goal.
Troglio’s thoughts now turn to the clásico against Racing on Sunday, and if he’s got any sense, Rodríguez will surely be given a chance from the start alongside Denis. San Lornezo, meanwhile, next play on the 29th, against River.