Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Follow Me Down To The River – Into The Final

River Plate have reached the final of the 2015 Copa Libertadores. The two time winner of the intercontinental competition will play for the biggest title in South America for the first time in 19 years. Marcelo Gallardo can win the trophy as a coach, after having won it as a player the last time of the club last time around.


River party! After a 1-1 draw with Guaraní, one of the most famous Argentinian clubs is going to the final.

The second leg against Guaraní was a lot closer than the final score of 1-1 would suggest. Fernando Fernández gave the hosts the lead in the 61st minute, filling the Paraguayan fans with hope of a possible turnaround of the 0-2 disadvantage. They had further chances to get the second goal, that would have taken the game to penalties, but instead River hit them on the counter attack. Obviously Guaraní had left lots of spaces while attacking. In the 78th minute, substitute Fernando Cavenaghi, who scored four goals in the league last weekend, put Lucas Alario through and his lob found the back of the net over the head of Alfredo Aguilar.

It was Alario’s first goal for his new club and a pretty big one on top. The 22-year old states “it was the most important goal of my life.” Coach Gallardo concentrated on the team effort: "We had the game under control. Their goal came at an important moment and they put us under pressure but we knew how to handle it." He adds that “it's enormously satisfying to play a much-awaited Libertadores final again after so long.”

On the other side of things, there was obvious disappointment. Guaraní did not manage to become the third Paraguayan team in a row to reach the Libertadores final, but can still pat themselves on the back for an outstanding international season. After all, reaching the semifinal means tying the biggest club success from 1966. Rightly so, the great fans celebrated their team’s efforts.

Guaraní have good chances to be back in the competition in 2016, you would wish it to them after their impressive run this year that saw them knock out the likes of Corinthians, Racing and Sporting Cristal.

Tonight will be the second leg of the other semifinal, Brazil’s Internacional hold a 2-1 advantage before their trip to Mexican club Tigres UANL.


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