Racing Match Report: Union de Santa Fe 1 Racing Club de Avellaneda 2 APD Round 20
Union de Santa Fe 1
Racing Club de Avellaneda 2
16th August 2015
Racing, fresh off the back of last Friday’s Copa Argentina victory against Tigre have won away from home for the first time since the Copa America break.
Cocca went for an exciting formation of a 3-4-1-2 against Union’s more standard 4-4-2, in an attempt to combat the lack of defensive cohesion on show in the last few Racing performances. Racing were playing with Romero, who had a very strong showing last time out against Tigre, and the faith shown in him paid dividends as Romero opened the scoring for Racing inside 10 minutes with a deflected shot from distance.
Before Romero’s opener for Racing, Union had started the game the stronger of the two sides, with Malcorra and former Racing midfielder Diego Villar looking to create opportunities from wide areas for Sanchez or Claudio Riaño. It was in fact Malcorra of Union who had the first opportunity on goal of the match, following good link up play on the left, Malcorra came in from the wing and fired a good low shot which required a smart save from Saja, down to his right hand post.
Racing’s opener came from nowhere, but a quick switch of play from the left to the right hand side, Camacho feeding the ball to Romero about 30 yards from goal, who under no pressure from Union’s defenders took a left footed shot which took a huge deflection off the back of Cordozo, the Union full back, and passed Fernandez, who had no chance of stopping the effort. The next few minutes of play, Racing and Union battled for possession with Racing forcing a corner kick on 16 minutes.
Oscar Romero’s inclusion to the Racing starting eleven doesn’t just bring play-making and fluke goals but also Racing’s best delivery at the set piece. Romero sent the corner to the back corner of the six yard box where it was headed to the back corner of the area where Gustavo Bou, (the owner of a truly bizarre looking trophy for Copa Libertadores top scorer) controlled the ball with his thigh, allowed it to bounce before perfectly volleying with the outside of his right boot into the back of the net. Racing’s best goal in weeks, and a strong contender for goal of the round, Bou gave Racing a 2-0 lead, which they would hold going into half time.
The remainder of the first half was a tug of war between the two sides with Union having the best of the exchanges with two shots on target to Racing’s one. With terrific passing from Villar and Malcorra as well as attacks from deep from Martinez and Sanchez, Union ended the first half looking much more dangerous than Racing. Racing’s back three of Sanchez, Lollo and Grimi worked well with Aued, who defended well but who’s passing was poor, and Diaz in keeping Union at bay, and when Union got a chance on goal they found Saja perfectly positioned to make comfortable save after comfortable save. Yet another strong performance from Racing’s number one.
The second half saw no changes from either side, but it certainly saw a change in the power in this match as Union came firing out of the blocks looking to overturn the two goal deficit. Inside the second minute of the second half Riaño forced a fine save from Saja, low to his right and a good block from Grimi on the second chance effort kept the score at 2-0. This was a warning shot to Racing that Union were on the war path, the same Union team that came from behind to beat Boca 4-3 away in their last league outing.
On 8 minutes Villar beat Saja with a fine looping header, but the goalkeeper’s best friend came up big as the ball bounced off the top of the cross bar and was cleared away by the Racing defenders. On this occasion Grimi, playing as a center back as opposed to his usual spot at left back did not deal well with the cross as he lost his footing allowing Villar a free header from 6 yards out.
Union kept on knocking on the door with attack after attack but for the first time in a long time for Racing, they looked very strong at the back, with good organisation and positioning. Racing’s tackling, however, still needs improving as does their defense of set pieces which was where Union looked the most likely to score from their persistent attacks on goal. In the first 20 minutes after the break Racing scarcely saw inside the Union half, sitting much deeper and not pressing as high up the field, and this defensive ethos was confirmed as Cocca made the first change of the match bringing on the defensive midfielder Acevedo for Romero, where as Union’s substitutions were to freshen things up in the attack.
Camacho was replaced after a good game from the Uruguayan, including a great sliding tackle followed by a back heel all in one slick Maldiniesque motion, by Ivan Pillud as Cocca moved to a flat back four and replaced Bou with Pavone. Rivas and Soldano entered for Union replacing Sanchez and Villar, the two midfielders who worked tirelessly and gave the Racing defenders lots to think about.
As the game neared it’s conclusion Union were still battling but their fate was effectively sealed with 5 minutes to go when their tricky forward Claudio Riaño was shown a straight red card for a dangerous high tackle on Gaston Diaz, followed by some play acting after getting hit in the face from a weakly struck ball by Lollo. The decision from the referee was not a popular one with the home support but it did not prevent a consolation goal late on in added time, when captain Leonardo Sanchez escaped his marker and rose to head in a perfectly weighted cross from Malcorra.
It was however too little too late for Union as the referee called an end to the game a minute later. Racing did enough to earn victory this evening but if not for another good goalkeeping performance from Saja, and a little luck for a goal and the crossbar the result could have been very different. Still, Racing will take great heart from scraping out a win against a very difficult side away from home, and more importantly 3 points as they look to keep touch with the title race with 9 rounds left to play.
Racing host Arsenal next week before travelling to Mendoza to take on Godoy Cruz, two fixtures which all Racing fans will be expecting full points from. Union will travel to play Tigre next weekend, in a good position to get the win, following a poor defeat for Tigre last night at the hands of Belgrano.
Man of the Match for Racing: Gustavo Bou, his volleyed finish for Racing’s second goal was the highlight of the game, but Bou put in a very strong overall performance for Racing today, as he always does, with all meaningful attacks going through him.
Man of the Match for Union: Emmanuel Britez, the combative full back did a fine job limiting Bou’s attacking effectiveness and contributed in attack with good runs down the wings.
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