Tomorrow will be the first official match that Gymnastics plays in Santiago del Estero. So far, he had three confrontations with Central Córdoba, of which the first was on a neutral field, at Atlético Rafaela, for the 2018 edition of the Argentine Cup in which the Wolf reached the final, for which one of the eliminated was the “Railway” in the Round of 16. The other two matches were played in La Plata for the First Division tournaments, in 2019 and 2021.
Central Córdoba was one of the first 4 clubs from the interior (along with Chaco For Ever, San Lorenzo de Mar del Plata and San Martín de Mendoza) that entered the National Championship in 1967. The difference was very great. In fact, they occupied the last four places in the standings, although the “Railway” entered history by defeating Boca 2-1 at the Bombonera. But it was Gymnastics that did not qualify and had to settle for winning the Promotional tournament that year, one of the many inventions of the AFA in the organization of tournaments.
And in 1971 when both clubs did participate in the Nacional, they stayed in different zones. Gimnasia was tenth in Zone A and Central Córdoba thirteenth in Zone B. Once again, the crossing had to wait. Only on October 13, 2018 did they meet for the first time, in a hard-fought match in which Jan Hurtado tied 1-1 shortly before the end and that Lobo later won on penalties.
However, Gimnasia has already played in Santiago del Estero. And it was in an emblematic year for the life of the club, no less than 1929, the year of the first official title. In those years, it was customary for the clubs that played in big football to travel to different places in the interior to play friendly matches, especially on national holidays.
To commemorate the 119 years of the May Revolution, Gymnastics was presented on May 25, 1929 in Santiago del Estero. They faced Santiago Foot Ball Club, last champion of the Cultural League (reinforced by soccer players from other institutions of the same) and won 2-1 with goals from Martín Malianni and José María Minella. The match was played at the Miter club and Gimnasia formed with Felipe Scarponi; Julio Di Gianno, Raimundo Maldini; Joaquin Guruciaga, Enrique Felices, Jesus Diaz; Miguel Curell, Francisco Varallo, Martín Malianni, Antonio Belli and José María Minella. For Santiago FBC they played Gómez; Leguizamon, Dorado; Colonel, Dalmacio Ruíz, C. Caro; González, Juárez, F. Ruíz, Saavdedra and A. Caro.
The next day, Gimnasia played again, in this case against Estudiantes de Santiago del Estero, which they defeated 2-0 with goals from Francisco Varallo and Martín Malianni. El Tripero enlisted Felipe Scarponi (later Francisco Ruíz joined); Julio Di Gianno, Hector Arispe; Joaquin Guruciaga, Jesus Diaz, Vicente Ruscitti; Miguel Curell, Francisco Varallo, Martín Malianni, José María Minella and Raimundo Maldini. On the other hand, Estudiantes came out onto the playing field with Fernández (injured, replaced by Maszuh); Pinto, Helman; Alonso, Rivadavia, Otinetti; Góbes, Argañaras, Beltrán, Díaz and Salvatierra.
The Lobo players who went to Santiago del Estero in 1929 for a friendly / Archive EL DIA
In both games there was a large presence of the public on the fields, given the impact caused by the presence of the clubs “from Buenos Aires” in an interior of the country that had no way of competing beyond the so-called Argentine National Team Championships that took place they had been playing since 1920. Chacarero football nourished the metropolis with its values, but it could not compete directly with its clubs. Only in 1939 did the Rosario clubs access AFA football as an advance of what would be a more “national” sport since 1967.
On the occasion of their presence in the city within the framework of the “Mayan Festivals”, the Albiazul delegation was entertained with a lunch on the 25th and on the night of the 26th the Estudiantes club offered a banquet in their honor at the social headquarters. Almost a month later he would play against Boca, in one of the last dates of the 1928 championship that ended off schedule. In July the tournament of 1929 would begin.
Barely 8 months and 15 days after that trip to the mother of cities, most of those players became champions by beating Boca 2-1 in Alvear and Tagle. By then, Enrique Felices (with whose brothers Roberto and Raúl arrived from Independencia to bring football back to the club with the 1915 merger) had stopped playing and Guruciaga was no longer with the club. Pancho Varallo would be a legend, Don Pepe Minella would name a stadium and Arispe from Pampas would die after vanishing in the middle of the Sportivo Barracas playing field on March 1, 1931. It was one of the reasons that gave way to the professionalism of soccer in our country.