The total of 25 points that Racing were aiming for in the Apertura hasn’t been met, but they weren’t far off. They ultimately have to settle for 22, after a disappointing performance in El Coloso Del Parque saw them end their Torneo Apertura with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Newell’s Old Boys. For their part, La Lepra, who say farewell to the retiring Ariel Zapata, finish in fifth.
Zapata, fittingly as he said goodbye to the league he’s graced for the last fourteen years (ten with Estudiantes and four with Newell’s), was man of the match despite having a penalty saved immediately before the second goal was scored. Cristian Fabbiani, meanwhile, suffered the ignominy of missing the clearest chance of the very few that the first half produced, when after using his arms to control the ball in the box (the referee didn’t notice) he lobbed Pablo Migliore, and Gabriel Mercado cleared off the line.
In the second half, Newell’s improved and Racing continued to hash their lines. Mauro Fórmica scored a fine goal with his left foot, cutting in from the right, in the 57th minute to make it 1-0. From that point on Racing seemed to be looking toward their summer holidays. Referee Cristian Faraoni didn’t help matters, awarding a soft penalty in the 88th minute against José Schaffer for supposedly bringing down Fórmica. Zapata took the kick, hoping to score on his swansong, but it was saved by Migliore – he pushed it straight to Hernán Bernardello, who blasted it in from the edge of the box.
Four minutes into stoppage time, Juan Manuel Insaurralde arrived first to meet a rebound from a free kick curled in by Fabbiani, and made it three. Zapata said goodbye to Newell’s, and Maxi Moralez – once again – played his last match for Racing; he’ll fly back to Moscow to join F.C. Moscow again now his twelve month loan period is up. Racing will have a struggle during the Clausura to match their performances of the Apertura – but Newell’s themselves were wondering where some form was going to come from, six months ago. Tonight they’re fifth, and guaranteed to finish there when the Apertura’s final table is drawn up.