Racing were once again frustrated as they were held scoreless by Central Cordoba in Santiago del Estero on Sunday, seeing Matias Zaracho red carded but more signifcantly the potential loss of Agusto Solari for an extended time as he went off with a knee injury.
Racing entered the home of the new boys to the top flight winless this season and coming off their worst defeat in decades to River Plate 6-1 last weekend, whilst Central entered the clash fresh off a draw away in the clasico against Talleres that followed their first win in the top flight since 1971.
The game was high on fouls but low on quality, as Central frustrated any Racing breaks with a foul or otherwise cynical play. Agusto Solari seemed to suffer the most of any racing player, as he was chopped down, rugby tackled and fouled more than any other.
His injury, midway through the second half, however, was not due to any foul play but instead a bad twist of his knee, which saw him stretchered from the pitch, nursing the outside of his knee and tears in his eyes. All Racing fans will be hoping for a swift and full recuperation for the midfielder who was arguably Racing’s best player on Sunday.
Whilst Racing controlled the possession in the game, it was Central who had the most shots in the game, calling Gabriel Arias into action repeatedly throughout the 90 minutes, thus allowing him to look more back to the form that had Racing fans rightly hail him as the best keeper in the division last term.
Defensively, Racing, still looked very shaky, and a better quality attack may punish them, as indeed they should have when a Central striker broke free at the back post but headed into the ground and over the bar with little over ten minutes to play in the game.
Racing’s second best opportunity in the match also saw the ball bounce harmlessly out of play, Zaracho made one of his only direct runs in the match, found Cvitanich on the edge of the area. The striker waited and waited before switching play to Matias Rojas, on to replace Solari, whose volleyed effort went straight into the turf and out for a goal kick.
Racing had the chance to settle the tie with two minutes left. Rojas worked hard to keep a ball in play and delivered a smart low ball to Zaracho who struck low at goal, Cvitanich attacked the ball but Rodriguez, the Central keeper, bravely met the initial effort and gathered bravely.
Zaracho received his marching orders in the 47th minute for a late challenge on Vega, the number five of Central, who is no stranger to the dark arts, but it was a fair yellow card, the second for Zaracho for the same offence in the game.
Central’s Vera Oviedo was down the tunnel for his second yellow card after cynically bringing down Cvitanich who was running into the area. The free kick was in a promising area but Rojas’ effort didn’t make the keeper work going wide of the top corner and the referee drew the game to a close.
Central Cordoba will be the happier of the two sides as they record their second draw against Racing in three meetings. Racing will be once again frustrated that their first win of the season has eluded them and, more crucially, they will be without Solari for an extended period.
This was an improvement on the River Plate performance, but left much to be desired.
Central Cordoba (4-1-4-1): G. Caleoni
Rodriguez; Diaz, Vera Oviedo (RED), Nani, Bay; Vega; Melvilo(Alzugaray), Herrera, Sanchez (Galleano), Cristaldo; Valencia (Rodriguez)
Racing Club (4-1-3-2): E. Coudet
Arias; Pillud, Orban, Dominguez, Pillud; Diaz; Solari (Rojas); Zaracho (RED). Montoya (Barbieri); Reneiro (Cvitanich), Licha;