Upsetting the form book

San Lorenzo’s players trudge off after losing to Newell’s

Newell’s Old Boys need to buck their ideas up if they’re going to avoid a relegation struggle during the Clausura, as I said on Thursday in the Clausura preview. On Friday evening, in the first league match of the year, they started the fight, with an unlikely victory away to 2007 Clausura winners San Lorenzo. Later in the evening, Banfield, third in the Apertura, lost away to Estudiantes in Roberto Sensini’s first league match in charge of the La Plata side.

San Lorenzo played poorly and were undone by a spirited and hard-working performance from the visitors. Jorge Ortíz was sent off just four minutes into the match for leaving his foot in in a tackle, and from that point on the hosts were always facing an uphill struggle.

Newell’s didn’t carve out too many chances in the first half, but seven minutes into the second they took the lead through Nicolás Spolli, who met a centre from Nicolás Cabrera well to give the Rosario side the lead. San Lorenzo thereafter were impotent to create further chances, and even when Newell’s Matías Donnet was sent off, evening up the numbers, couldn’t find a way through. It was left to Paraguayan forward Santiago Salcedo to wrap things up with a fine strike, smashing a shot from outside the area in off the crossbar. Things are up and running for Newell’s, whilst San Lorenzo will be hoping Andrés D’Alessandro gets fit enough to bring some inventiveness to their midfield, sharpish.

In La Plata, Pablo Piatti scored after just 27 seconds for Estudiantes, as Roberto Sensini’s side, who looked remarkably similar in both setup and names to the one Diego Simeone fielded last year, saw off Banfield. Piatti’s left-footed drive across the goal was too much, too early for Cristián Lucchetti. As Juan Sebastián Verón and Rodrigo Braña dominated the middle of the pitch, Piatti got another in the ninth minute, racing into the area and smacking the ball smartly inside the near post. Darío Cvitanich pulled one back in the second half, but the visitors couldn’t get the equaliser. Sensini, then, begins his competitive Pincha career with a win.

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