Saturday, March 10, 2012

Routing Colón Gives Newell's Hope

After two straight 2-0 loses, away to Boca Jrs and at home against Belgrano, Newell's Old Boys needed a confidence builder. Heading into Sante Fe to face Colón was not a recipe for such, but sometimes things work out far better than expected. The home of Colón is nicknamed "El Cementerio de los Elefantes", the Elephant's Graveyard. Visiting teams going there hoping for three points fail far more often they succeed.

I was not able to watch the match, as it was played on Friday while I was at work, and ended about the time I was leaving. Driving home I had a brief feeling that the game ended 3-0... which I put aside quickly, as holding such as a truth would surely mean that Colón had won. Instead I began singing in my head: "Yo no soy un Elefante, soy un leproso es verdad..." which is all I remember of a four line song I wrote when Newell's were last fighting for the title, and were heading into Sante Fe needing a win.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and checked on the score. Colón 0 Newell's Old Boys 3. HOLY SHIT! I could not help but make the exclamation out loud. I was hoping for a point, dreaming of three, but never imagined that La Lepra could roll over Colón in Sante Fe, not this current team anyway. But it had happened.

Pablo Perez scored the first goal off a corner in first half injury time. The cross from the left was poor, but so was the attempted heading clearance, which Perez fought for and won with the kind of individual effort we have seen far too little of over the past year and a half. 1-0. As he celebrated Perez pointed into the stands, at the hincha who had traveled to support a team that had let them down in the previous two games.

I can only imagine that Colón completely fell apart in the second half. Iván Moreno y Fabianesi received a straight red card in the 69th minute put the home side down to 10 men. Gerardo Alcoba was sent off in the 82nd, and Colón where then out numbered 11 to 9.

Martín Tonso who had come on for Leandro Torres, scored Newell's second goal. In the 87th minute Lucas Bernardi turned playmaker, feeding a perfect return pass to the young attacking midfielder that left only goalkeeper Diego Pozo to beat. 2-0. It was a thing of beauty, but the best was yet to come.

Maximiliano Urruti had scored two goals in Newell's first two matches, and against Colón he scored the final goal of the match with what may just be the goal of the tournament. Five minutes into injury time he was feed a pass by Raúl Villalba. Again, goalkeeper Pozo was the only one left to beat. As he came out to cutoff the angles Urruti chipped the ball calmly over Pozo. One bounce, and it was in the net. 3-0.

Sure, the final two goals came after Newell's had a two man advantage, but it still feels good to get vital points on the road.

(Perhaps Roberto Sensini is not such a bad coach for Newell's after all... so long as he is running the opposing team - he took over Colón during the summer break.)

Up next Atletico Rafaela come to Rosario, match is scheduled for Sunday the 18th.

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