Thursday, July 16, 2015

Semi final successes – River Plate and Internacional hold advantages

The first semifinal of this year’s Copa Libertadores was a pretty one sided affair. River Plate dominated Guaraní to a big extent, the visitors did not manage a shot on goal during the full 90 minutes. Second half goals from Gabriel Mercado and Rodrigo Mora lifted River to a comfortable 2-0 victory. The players from coach Marcelo Gallardo did everything they could to extend the advantage even further, which wasn’t rewarded though. By the time the final whistle blew, the Argentinians had collected 17 shots in an ecstatic El Monumental.


Rodrigo Mora celebrating his 2-0 goal in the game between River and Guaraní.

An interesting note is that River Plate is the current holder of both Copa Sudamericana and Recopa (played between Libertadores and Sudamericana champion), giving them the possibility to hold all three big South American titles at the same time. As if it needed extra motivation to win the big one?

Here are the highlights of River vs Guaraní:

In Wednesday night’s game, we saw the clash between Brazilian giants Internacional and Mexican team Tigres UANL.

The goals were all scored by the 25th minute, two for Inter, one for Tigres. Captain Andres D’Alessandro opened the scoring early in the 5th minute, putting a low shot into the bottom right corner. Only five minutes later, Valdivia profited from an ugly deflection that put the ball high in the air and bounce over goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán. Despite the early double shock in an away game, the Mexicans came back and brought the game within one, when Hugo Ayala headed home a cross from Rafael Sóbis.

Inter were the better team throughout the game when it comes to possession (65%) and shots on target (5-4), but the visitors did a good job countering. They had multiple chances to tie the game up, predominantly through summer transfer André-Pierre Gignac. The French striker had a fine outing in his first ever Copa Libertadores game.

Ayala, Mr. Goalscorer himself, was later sent off with his second yellow card of the night after a bad foul in midfield. It would complicate Tigres’ mission for the rest of the game, but they held on to the narrow loss. For the second leg at home, they don’t have the worst imaginable position. Since away goals count, a 1-0 win would be enough to see them through to the final of the competition.

Here are the highlights of the second game:


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