The Torneo Final kicked off on Friday and after a ludicrously tight Torneo Inicial there are any number of teams vying for the title. Inicial Champions, San Lorenzo slipped up, Newell’s battled with Boca while River Plate’s dreams continued to grow. Racing announced themselves as potential winners and in doing so scored the goal of the weekend but their victims, Colon showed why perhaps they are the one sure bet to be relegated come the end of the season.
Estudiantes 1 – 0 Arsenal
Just 5 goals conceded in La Plata in their 11 home matches this season, it is easy to see why Estudiantes are tough to beat and why young keeper, Geronimo Rulli is so sought after.
The home side should have led earlier after Joaquín Correa managed to put the ball over the crossbar from yards out but they were not made to wait too long. Jonathan Silva’s weakly struck volley wasn’t going to pose much of a threat but a deflection off Diego Braghieri caused the ball to squeeze past Cristian Campestrini.
There was little reaction from Gustavo Alfaro’s, Arsenal after the break and it was Estudiantes who looked more dangerous.
Velez Sarsfield 0 – 0 Tigre
A fairly entertaining goalless draw inside an empty Estadio Jose Amalfitani could have been won by either side. Mauro Zárate posed the biggest threat for Velez and for the visitors, Matías Pérez García pulled the strings but neither could find a breakthrough.
New Velez Manager, Jose Flores has already overseen a SuperCopa victory but will need to rally his side ahead of a long season competing for the Torneo Final and Copa Libertadores.
Olimpo 2 – 0 San Lorenzo
An away trip to Bahia Blanca was not the easiest opening for new San Lorenzo Manager, Edgardo Bauza and so it proved as his side slumped to a 2-0 defeat.
Olimpo won the final 4 matches of the Torneo Inicial and have a good record at home and so despite San Lorenzo being one of the favourites for the title the result is not a huge shock.
Ezequiel Miralles took advantage of some poor defending to give Olimpo the lead after 68 minutes and moments later the lead was doubled. A set piece from the left was met powerfully by Ivan Furios and his header crashed into the net.
It got worse for San Lorenzo when Santiago Gentiletti was sent off but the match was over. With a game against Botafogo in the Maracana on Tuesday there is little time for San Lorenzo to dwell on this result.
Argentinos Juniors 2 – 1 Godoy Cruz
Argentinos Juniors celebrated the return of club legend, Claudio Borghi with a 2-1 win over relegation rivals, Godoy Cruz. Under the leadership of Borghi there is certainly a brighter feel around La Paternal and despite having to dig deep to hold on to this result it is a positive start for Argentinos.
Striker, Leonardo Pisculichi gave them the lead in the first half when his long range effort squirmed past Jorge Carranza in the torrential rain. Lucas Cano added a second from close range after the break and when Godoy Cruz were reduced to 10 men following the red card to Jose Fernandez it appeared that Argentinos would be comfortable. However, a spirited comeback along with some desperate possession football from Los Bichos enabled Mauro Obolo to pull one back and set up a nervy finish.
Borghi’s Argentinos are a work in progress and there were signs that his more technical passing game will take a little bit more time to implement even though consideration has to be given for the dreadful conditions the match was played in. Godoy Cruz look in real danger judging by this performance.
Atletico Rafaela 1 – 1 All Boys
Visiting Rafaela was one of the more difficult away days in the Torneo Inicial so after a summer of unrest and depletion, All Boys were not expected to get much from this first round match.
However, when Javier Campora headed All Boys in front it appeared the unpredictable Primera would live up to its reputation. With 5 minutes remaining, Rodrigo Depetris cut in from the right and with his left foot curled in a superb equaliser for Rafaela.
Racing Club 3 – 0 Colon
Racing took advantage of woeful Colon in Avellaneda to start the Torneo Final with a 3-0 win. The resurgence under ‘Mostaza’ Merlo sees Racing as potential title challengers even if Saturday night’s victory was against the league’s weakest side.
Valentin Viola spectacularly gave Racing the lead with a wonderful bicycle kick, Gabriel Hauche added a second just before the break and then youngster, Luciano Vietto came off the bench to complete the rout.
Quilmes 0 – 1 Rosario Central
Rosario Central kicked off their season with a victory, Hernán Encina’s header enough to earn a 1-0 win over Quilmes, who remain in danger of relegation.
Newell’s Old Boys 0 – 0 Boca Juniors
Both sides created chances and so perhaps a share of the points was just with both sides coming close to being able to claim all 3 points. Maxi Rodriguez should have had a penalty when he was scythed down by Juan Forlín but referee, Mauro Vigliano thought differently and for Boca, Fernando Gago came close late on but his shot went agonisingly wide.
Carlos Bianchi will certainly be the happier manager after what was a poor pre-season. A draw away to Newell’s should prove to be a good result and a clean sheet will please everyone at the club after the defence continued to make the same costly mistakes over the summer that they made last season.
For Newell’s it is early days, Banega showed glimpses of his talents and should prove to be a great acquisition. However, the blank in front of goal suggests that it was the shortage in attack and not midfield that Newell’s should have addressed over the summer.
River Plate 1 – 0 Gimnasia La Plata
River’s defensive stability from the Torneo Inicial continued in the Estadio Monumental on Sunday night but with the new look attack of Fernando Cavanaghi, Teo Guttierez and Manuel Lanzini appears to have slightly more creative spark than last season’s version.
Lanzini and Cavanaghi were both guilty of missing chances, the latter coming the closest when his shot came back off the upright when clean through and so it was midfielder, Leonardo Ponzio who was the match winner. His long range strike seemed to catch Fernando Monetti unsighted and nestled in the bottom corner.
River are still a work in progress and this was just the opening game but with most the title challengers having to juggle Copa Libertadores commitments, River could take advantage.
Belgrano 2 – 2 Lanus
The opening round of the Torneo Final saw two of the possible title candidates pitted against each other in Cordoba, as Belgrano hosted Lanus.
Jorge Ortiz pounced on a loose ball in the six yard box following a Lanus corner to poke the visitors in front but Belgrano showed their potential title qualities by fighting back. Paolo Goltz, under pressure, diverted the ball into his own net and minutes later, Carlos Bueno was brought down by the onrushing Agustin Marchesin to win a penalty. Luciano Lollo stepped up to thump the hosts in front but with time running out, Ismael Blanco scored a wonderful equaliser. His inch perfect lob gave Lanus a well deserved point and a solid start to the championship.
Click on Peter’s name above to follow him on Twitter