Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slim Margin, But Victory None The Less

Having missed Newell's Old Boys 3-0 win against Colón de Santa Fe due to a minor injury, and having played most the year with out impressing his mark, Mauricio Sperduti went into the match against Atletico Rafaela and proved that he can still be a force to be reckoned with. He was the best player on the field for much of the match, and provided the lone goal of the contest in the 24th minute off a well taken header... not the usual sort of goal we are used to seeing from El Gordo, but a welcome one none the less... less encouraging was the fact that when Sperduti left the match in the 80th minute he looked spent.

I saw a lot of good things in this game. Newell's passing was encouraging, if not perfect. There were a lot of one and two touch quick passes, and the midfield moved the ball around well. The defense held the opposition to few chances, which allowed Peratta a virtual night off (he only faced one actual shot on net).

Granted, this was against an opponent who is not exactly having a great season, but neither have we. This was the first time Newell's have won two games in a row in I do not know how long. During the entire Apertura La Lepra only secured one win. After six matches we have tripled that.

That is not to say that all is well. With all the passing we ended up with nine shots on net, which is great. Problem is, other than the goal from Sperduti, none of these shots were the sort that gave Rafaela keeper Guillermo Sara much to worry about. Most of them, in fact, were directed straight at him.

No, there is still much to improve upon in the attacking third of the pitch. Poor finishing, learning when to take a hard shot and when to pop a floater over the head of the keeper... with better finishing, and/or shot selection this could easily have been another 3-0 win.

Still, the win does put Newell's up to 10 points, only four off from current leaders Tigre. After only six matches this does not mean much, but after the disaster that was the Apertura I doubt that anyone would have guessed on the team starting out the Clausura so well.

Up next Newell's head back to Buenos Aires to face Vélez Sarsfield. Walking away from this match with a point will not be easy. Getting all three will take a near miracle.

No comments: