Thursday, April 7, 2016

River score six, spectacle in Rosario

The Copa Libertadores did not disappoint in its return for the second night in a row. Yesterday, 24 goals were scored in 5 games and Germancopa has you covered on all of them.

4.8 goals per game would be a pretty decent number, right? Title holders River Plate kicked things off the past night and did not show their league face at all. While struggling heavily home in Argentina, River lead their Libertadores Group 1 comfortably. They beat The Strongest 6-0.

Andrés D'Alessandro.
It was a first half for the ages in El Monumental, as River struck five times in the first 45 minutes alone. Andrés D'Alessandro (14'), Ignacio Fernández (26'), Camilo Mayada (30'), Emanuel Mammana (42') and Lucas Alario (45') were the goalscorers early on. As you guessed by now, the Bolivian visitors did not have the slightest chance and were outplayed by their opponents from start to finish.

In particular the first one from D'Ale was beautifully created and the offensive midfielder himself could show his full qualities. First he went by three defenders and played a lovely pass to Mayada. He backheeled the ball towards D'Alessandro and the Argentine finished into the near side with a precise poke. Expectedly, Andrés D'Alessandro's celebration was very emotional after scoring his first goal back in a River shirt.

The Strongest had their best chance when it was 3-0 against them already, but Iván Alonso's brother Matías shot it wide across the face of goal. Iván himself came on towards the end of the game to have a brother's duel in the Copa Libertadores.

Ignacio Fernández added his second goal in the 83rd minute to give River their 6-0 victory and maybe a catapult out of their crisis. The round of 16 is very close for them (8 points), but The Strongest are not done either despite their heavy loss. They hold on to the second spot (7), followed by São Paulo (5) and Trujillanos (1, eliminated).

Prolific figure in Rosario: Palmeiras' Gabriel. (Photo:
In Group 2, Rosario Central was involved in yet another goal spectacle this season. Against Brazilian cup winners Palmeiras, the Argentines drew 3-3.

Gabriel Jesus was the man of the first half for the visiting team as he scored two goals. One came early (5'), after a disastrous back pass from Damián Musto right into the run of Gabriel. Musto knew it as soon as it left his foot, but there was nothing anyone could do anymore. His second goal came right at the brink of halftime via header (45'+1), assisted by Robinho's freekick cross. It was a little surprising at the time, because Central had started to dominate about 15 minutes in and equalized in the meantime through centre-back Alejandro Donatti's deflected freekick (33').

Still, it went to halftime with a lucky Brazilian lead. Central dominated the match with 70% possession and nice football, but at the end of the night, Palmeiras actually had the more precise attack which produced a higher amount of shots on target.

Gabriel nearly made completed his hattrick to start the second half, was only denied by the woodwork on his powerful attempt. Instead, Central got their deserved equalizer after 51 minutes through one of their young talented offensive midfielders, Franco Cervi. Teammate Gustavo Colman produced a lovely freekick variation into the horizontal run of Cervi who was simply forgotten by Palmeiras' defenders.

The visitors brought on Lucas Barrios up front and Zé Roberto for defensive insurance, but it backfired for the time being. Referee Olmedo awarded Central a penalty after Musto was pulled down in the area. If anyone gets on the scoresheet regularly for Rosario Central, it is striker Marco Rubén and he left no doubts today either with his penalty into the bottom right corner (67').

The Argentines had the game where they wanted it now, but gave the lead away again just ten minutes later. Despite having the numerical advantage after Gabriel's brainless red card (74'), substitute Lucas Barrios was found all alone on Egidio's freekick and produced the final score of 3-3.

Rosario Central and Nacional have 8 points, while Palmeiras follows them with 5. At the bottom are Uruguay's River Plate with 2 points. A point tonight for Nacional gets them into the round of 16.

Elsewhere in the Copa Libertadores

Independiente del Valle surprised Atlético Mineiro with a 3-2 home victory. Man of the match was Junior Sornoza who scored two goals and therefore put the game out of Atlético's reach. Group 5 sees both teams close to advancing (10 points each), as Colo Colo (5) have a must-win game against Melgar ahead of them to have any chance.

After a 0-1 away lead, Olimpia could not hold onto their lead in Mexico. Already advanced Pumas UNAM scored four on their Paraguayan opponents in the second half. Ismael Sosa found the back of the net for the fifth time in the competition this year and leads the way along with Jonathan Calleri. In Venezuela, they also celebrated Pumas' win, because it puts Deportivo Táchira through to the next round, while Emelec and Olimpia have to go home.

Finally, Santa Fe and Corinthians met in Group 8. It remains led by the Brazilian side after a 1-1 draw in Colombia last night. Antony Otero gave Santa Fe the lead (45'), which was equalized by Elías after 58 minutes. Cerro Porteño have a game in hand against the pointless Chileans from Cobresal and can move into a round of 16 spot in the upcoming week.


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