The 2013 Torneo Inicial kicked off on Friday with two matches; Godoy Cruz hosted Argentinos Juniors in Mendoza in a match between two of the sides who begin this season in the biggest danger of the drop, whilst Arsenal de Sarandí were at home to Estudiantes de La Plata, for whom Duvan Zapata was playing possibly his last match and Juan Sebastián Verón was making his competitive return from retirement. Godoy won 3-1, and Arsenal got a 1-1 draw thanks to a stoppage time equaliser. You can see all six goals right here.
Godoy Cruz 3-1 Argentinos Juniors
Godoy had three shots on target during this match, and scored three times. Even then, the first came about thanks to an own goal – Argentine sources are all giving to Jorge Curbelo, the Godoy Cruz defender who took the free kick, but on the replay it looks like it’s going wide, doesn’t it? I think it comes off Rodrigo Gómez and wrong-foots Pablo Migliore, who was making his debut for Argentinos having returned from his controversial move to Dinamo Zagreb, which lasted just four matches.
There was no doubting who scored any of the goals in the second half, though; one from Mauro Óbolo to put Godoy 2-0 up, a penalty from – definitely, this time – Rodrigo Gómez to pull it back to 2-1, and then a second from Óbolo to make it 3-1 to Martín Palermo’s men.
Arsenal 1-1 Estudiantes
Seba Verón’s side began the Torneo Final fantastically; just over half an hour in, they had a one-man advantage and a one-goal lead. Mariano Echeverría had been sent off 17 minutes in – I’m told this was a harsh red card, but didn’t see it myself and haven’t been able to find a video of it – and Duván Zapata, who’s set to leave Estudiantes and is at loggerheads with the club’s management over what he claims are unpaid wages, scored for them 31 minutes in. With six minutes of the first half to go, though, Jonathan Silva was sent off, but Estudiantes maintained their lead.
In the second half, Estudiantes by and large kept control, without playing brilliantly, reducing Arsenal to not much than, ‘a few long balls,’ as returning club legend Verón put it post-match. In stoppage time, a hand ball from Leonardo Jara, which led to his sending off, gave Arsenal a penalty which Julio Furch buried for the hosts to claim a point.
On Saturday there are three Primera games; All Boys v Atlético Rafaela at 16:10, Tigre v Vélez Sarsfield at 18:10 and Colón v Racing at 20:15. It’s also the day on which the B Nacional gets underway, with all eyes fixed on the Estadio Libertadores de América, where seven-times Copa Libertadores winners Independiente will be hosting Brown de Adrogué, in what will be the latter’s first match ever in the second tier – and Independiente’s first in over a century.