Rosario Central held on for a nervy 2-1 victory over city rivals Newell’s Old Boys today, to win the first derby between the two sides for three years.
In the Primera Division for the first time since relegation in 2010, the home team were driven on by a full house at the Gigante del Arroyito stadium and took an early lead in what proved to be an epic city clash.
Alejandro Donatti fired the Canalla ahead after just 11 minutes with a header unmarked at the far post. A superbly-taken equaliser from Argentina international Maxi Rodriguez levelled proceedings less than five minutes later, but there was to be another twist in the tale before half time.
A rapid Central attack left the ball squirming out of goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán’s grasp, and Hernán Encina was on hand to poke home and put his time back ahead, and the hosts gripped tightly to their slim advantage to frustrate the defending champions.
Newell’s hold on to their position at the top of the Inicial due to a defeat for Arsenal de Sarandi, who could have drawn level with the Lepra if they had downed Tigre. Central, meanwhile, move up to 16th with 11 points from their first 12 games back in the top flight.