There was more misery in Avellaneda this past weekend as Racing coach Alfie ‘Coco’ Basile continued his poor start to life back with La Academia, his side slumping to 2-1 home defeat to lowly Banfield.
Racing have now picked up just one point from their opening three matches and to make matters worse they will now be without striker Teo Gutierrez, who once again saw red for a mindless second booking when he attempted to kick the ball out of Banfield goalkeeper Christian Lucchetti’s hands.
The afternoon had started well for Teo, as he calmly slotted a 3rd minute penalty past Lucchetti to give Racing the lead. Just eight minutes, however, Lucchetti himself stepped forward to take a penalty. The Banfield goalkeeper saw his shot stopped by his opposite number, but Brian Chavez was on hand to slot home the rebound. Another disappointing afternoon then quickly turned sour for Racing when Hernan Rodrigo Lopez headed Banfield’s winner two minutes into stoppage time.
“We have a good team, but the truth is we have one point from nine,” said Basile. “They put out a line of five [defenders], we didn’t find a way through… The responsibility is mine.”
“It’s been a bad start but I am convinced that we will move on and have a good season,” added goalkeeper Sebastian Saja. “Now the emphasis has to be on short-term goals. We need only to think of [out next game against] Arsenal.”
Racing fans can at least take heart in the fact that their plight isn’t as bad as that being endured by rivals Independiente who suffered their third straight defeat of the new season on Saturday, going down 2-0 to Estudiantes. Gaston Fernandez put Estu ahead before Guido Carrillo sealed all three points ten minutes from time when he headed Juan Veron’s corner past Hilario Navarro.
Argentinos Juniors sit second from bottom, between Racing and Independiente, and are also without a win after Nahuel Benítez’s second half strike was enough to give relegation-threatened San Lorenzo all three points in La Paternal.
Union and Arsenal are the only other two sides yet to claim a victory. Lucas Parodi scored the only goal of the game as Belgrano saw off Union, while Arsenal, who look set for a difficult season as they attempt to juggle both Copa Libertadores football with their domestic commitments, were beaten 3-2 by Velez in Liniers.
That win took Velez top of the table where they are tied on seven points with Tigre, who continued their fine start to the season with a 2-0 victory over Godoy Cruz in Mendoza, and Boca Juniors, who got back to winning ways at home to Newell’s with the help of a Juan Roman Riquelme masterclass.
Elsewhere in round three, Colon scored their first victory of the season with a 3-1 win over Olimpo that included yet another Bichi Fuertes goal, and All Boys moved up to fourth with a 1-0 win at Atletico Rafaela.
The shock result of the round arrived via the week’s final game, with San Juan de San Martin made the long trip east to comfortably beat Lanus 3-1 in Buenos Aires.
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