In Pepe Santoro’s last match in charge (he announced his impending resignation earlier on Friday, in spite of Independiente president Julio Comparada’s attempts to convince him to stay on Thursday), Independiente turned in their best performance of the year so far. An astonishing match against Newell’s in the Tomás A. Ducó was looking unusuallly low-scoring for a Friday night game until, midway through the second half, it suddenly burst into life and offered up four goals in the space of six manic minutes.
After being thumped in Jujuy last week, Independiente wanted to get back to winning ways in spite of Santoro’s pre-ordained exit. In the first half, they showed why the manager had decided he’d better leave his post, looking not entirely happy with themselves and suffering the same inconsistencies that have blighted their season thus far. Newell’s were pretty rubbish as well, and at the break there was no sign of the goals that were to start flowing in the second period.
Early on after the interval, Leandro Gioda, returning to the side after five months out with a cruciate ligament injury, headed in from a left-wing free kick to put El Rojo into the lead. Twenty minutes on, Daniel Montenegro, who next weekend may well be pulling on the blue-and-white of the selección, picked out a magnificent pass for Ismael Sosa to double the lead with his first goal in a year-and-a-half.
Newell’s pulled one back a couple of minutes on, playing the ball down the left and cutting it into the box where Mauro Fórmica was on hand to steer it home. A minute after the restart Leonel Ríos used Montenegro’s dummy run to distract the defenders for just long enough to allow him to cut across the goal before unleashing a low drive into the far corner from 20 yards out. Before the replays of that one had even stopped rolling on the TV cameras, Hernán Fredes was collecting the ball from the left and smashing it into the top corner to make it 4-1. Santoro must have been wishing he’d followed his boss’s advice, and stayed.
In the night’s other match, Banfield saw off Arsenal 2-0, with both goals coming thanks to penalty kicks from goalkeeper Cristian Lucchetti, one just before half time and the other midway through the second half. Banfield have won their first match in three games, whilst Arsenal have now lost three straight.