Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chumacero saves The Strongest late against River

For a long time, it looked like River Plate could finally overcome the Argentine away curse in Bolivia. It was over 45 years that any Argentine side had won a game in the heights of La Paz and until added time, River had a one goal lead. They did not get it across the finish line.

Best man for River: Goalkeeper Barovero. (Photo:
In a game that saw The Strongest be the better team for larger parts, the visitors took the lead against the odds. Rodrigo Mora produced a fantastic improvised overhead kick finish after Ponzio's long forward ball. The Uruguayan striker in general had a fine game and was the focal point when River got forward. Several other opportunities throughout the 90 minutes went wide. The same can be said for his striking partners. Lucas Alario and Sebastián Driussi were all visible but lacked final precision. 

The biggest spotlight belonged to Marcelo Barovero though. River's goalkeeper saved his team multiple times and made winning points even possible. The Bolivians had 21 shots, 10 of them on target, 9 of them saved. Just that one at the very end went in. Alejandro Chumacero was fastest on the ball when noone else was in added time of the second half and banged it high into the net. 

To celebrate the draw, both teams lost a player to sending-offs. Rodrigo Ramallo was sent off for his second yellow on the home side, while River's Leonardo Ponzio followed him with a straight red. Table-wise, both can live with how things went. The Strongest are on top with 7 points, River Plate have 5. Not going through right now: São Paulo with 2 and Trujillanos with 1 point. 

Elsewhere in the Copa Libertadores

São Paulo could not come away with a victory away to Venezuela's Trujillanos. Despite being the better team for most of the 90 minutes, a missed penalty from Ganso proved decisive at the end of the day. Overall, Ganso had a good game though and equalized quickly (38'), two minutes after Rubén Rojas had given Trujillanos the lead. In their attempts to catch the top two sides, a point will not do for either of them. 

Colo Colo didn't do bad away at Atlético Mineiro. They still lost 3-0, mainly due to the Brazilians' efficiency. Goals from Juan Cazares (2'), Patric (45'+1) and Hyuri (73') were too much for Chile's best participant. It hurt them tremendously to not have striker Esteban Paredes available for this game. Atlético Mineiro are close to advancing from Group 5 with now 10 points. Independiente del Valle (7), Colo Colo (5) and Melgar (0) follow them.

Corinthians' goalscorer Lucca celebrates. (Photo:
Last but not least, another Brazilian club was victorious last night. Corinthians beat group leading Cerro Porteño 2-0 at home and rightly so. Paraguay's champion could not recreate the form that gave them a surprising 3-2 win over the same opponent a week ago. Lucca scored during the first half (24'), an own goal in the second from Victor Mareco (61') sealed things in São Paulo. Corinthians are now top of Group 8 (9 points), ahead of Santa Fe (7), Cerro Porteño (7) and Cobresal (0).


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