Ten man Racing Club finally clinched their first win of the season thanks to goals from Cvitanich, Licha and Pulpo Gonzalez, as they brush aside a Godoy Cruz side lacking in cutting edge on Saturday night.
Racing Club have underperformed in their opening four fixtures in the Superliga as they look to retain their crown as champions of Argentina. Winless, with three draws against sides they would have beaten last season and a humiliation against River Plate, Racing needed a big performance at Il Cilindro on Saturday night.
Godoy Cruz by contrast, have started the season well and entered Avellaneda off the back of a home win over Estudiantes, which could have been more comfortable than the 2-1 final score, despite barely seeing the football all game.
Eduardo Coudet named a changed midfield, covering for the suspended Zaracho and injured Solari, with a midfield three of Diego Gonzalez, David Barbona and Walter Montoya, and also welcome back Alejandro Donatti in place of Orban.
Racing started the game strong, dominating the opening thirty minutes, without making any clear cut chances. The best opportunities for Racing came from a miss hit Montoya cross that teased curving back to the top corner, and a Licha effort from distance that was handily saved by Roberto Ramirez in the Goody Cruz goal.
The visitors rarely threatened the Racing goal in the opening half hour, putting a few crosses into the area that were easily dealt with.
It would Racing to open the scoring. Good defending from Pillud won Racing a goal kick, and Arias’ quick distribution led to a crisp passing move that left Godoy Cruz stunned. In the midfield Montoya fed the ball in the path of Cvitanich who rushed into the area and finished clinically past Ramirez in the 32nd minute.
The lead would last just four minutes. Mena, in just his second game of the season, was dispossed of possion by Agustin Mazur, who drove down the line and crossed in for Santiago Garcia to head in simply at the near post.
Racing were handed a lifeline just two minutes later as Cvitanich was brought down by Joaqin Varela in the area and Lisandro Lopez duly dispatched a calm penalty to the bottom right hand corner as Ramirez dove the wrong way.
Racing had a third on the stroke of half time, Montoya whipped in the best corner of the season so far and Pulpo Gonzalez rushed to the edge of the six yard box to meet it and flick it on past the despairing dive of Ramirez.
Racing’s first half display against Godoy Cruz was the most dominant and decisive 45 minutes of football Racing have played this season and were well worth their 3-1 half time lead.
Godoy Cruz were the quickest out of the blocks in the second with Garcia racing through the defense just seconds into the half to no avail. Alejandro Donatti, playing in the league for the first time this season collected a yellow card for a coming together with Brunetta. Brunetta’s resulting free kick caused Arias to scramble across goal but ultimately the effort went harmlessly wide.
After these two early efforts the game regained it’s form from the first half, with Racing calmly and patiently trying to break down a fairly well organised Godoy Cruz. Racing have been susceptible to the counter attack all season and Brunetta was gifted a chance to pull one back as he was set on goal with Garcia in support. Instead of trying to find his partner, Brunetta chose to shoot and tamely pulled his shot wide of Arias’ goal.
With twenty minutes left in the game, Brunetta manufactured another breakaway opportunity, battling past Sigali and Pillud but once again his tame effort was stopped by Arias.
The game petered out as a contest in the final twenty minutes of the half, as both sides made changes and Racing continued to control the play, without threatening too much.
There was a final twist in the tail as Churry Cristaldo, a second half replacement for Cvitanich, was red carded for elbowing Mazur in the face as they battled for the ball. It seemed a tough decision from Delfino who wasted no time in reaching for the red.
This was a much improved performance for Racing but with some flaws still evident, against a disappointing Godoy Cruz, who will feel hard done by regarding the penalty, but were very much second best.
Both sides will find areas of improvement before their next games, after the international break. Racing go away to Gimnasia whilst Godoy Cruz will host Argentinos Jrs.
Racing Club (E. Coudet) 4-1-3-2
Arias; Mena, Donatti, Sigali, Pillud; Diaz; Montoya(Dominguez), Barbona(Rojas), Gonzalez; Licha, Cvitanich(Cristaldo-RED);
Godoy Cruz (J. Patalano) 4-4-2
Ramirez; Aleo, Cardona, Varela, Bretienbruch; Henriquez, Gonzalez(Freites), Andrada, Mazur; Garcia, Brunetta;