Thursday, March 15, 2007

LDU Quito: 1 - River Plate: 1 - Copa Libertadores 2007

Today we tied vs. Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito (LDU) in a tough match played in the high elevations of Ecuador.

The home side started of winning with a goal by Vera. After being left with ten, thanks to Sambueza being expelled, River managed to get the tie with Farias being the goal-scorer.

The Player Review -

Ernesto Farias: Once again, River's best player. This was his second goal in this year's Copa Libertadores, also making him River's top goal-scorer this season. (4 goals in 7 matches)

Rubens Sambueza: We may say he was expelled fairly, but I don't think it was his intention to foul the rival. He went looking to get the ball first, the same exact way the Ecuadorian did. If anything, the other player should have been red carded as well, for doing the same thing as "Canito".

Cristian Villagra: Horrible game, in my opinion, for the ex-Rosario Central player. He did better in the second half than in the first, but I still can't say he did good. Not much towards the defending side, and he would lose the ball most of the times he tried to come foward and attack. He hasn't impressed me in any of the three games so far. I've been asking myself, "was he worth the investment?".

Leonardo Ponzio: Another player who did good. He ran a lot, and did his share in both the defensive and offensive point of views. He has been an important player for the team so far.

Fernando Belluschi: Yet another match in which Fernando failed to shine. Is it the public pressure? Are the teams putting extra marking men on him? Is he getting too "over himself" and tries to do every play elegantly? What ever it is, I hope he finds out about it and fixes it: we are heavily missing the old Belluschi.

Federico Lussenhoff: Looked solid, as expected. My ideal "regular" defense would be Ferrari-Lussenhoff-Rivas-Tuzzio.. Sounds tougher to get past than a brick wall to me!

Despite not getting the three points that we all wanted, I think this was a good result. Just look at the statistics: River lost the last 4 matches they played in Quito (not Ecuador in general, just Quito). This tie has left us second in the group, along with LDU, with four points. We will be facing them again in two weeks in the Monumental.

One thing that concerned me, though, is that the players looked awfully tired. It makes sense, due to the high elevation and the tough schedule, but will they be fine when we face Quilmes in three days? A slight rotations is expected to begin on Sunday, with Rivas and Tuzzio (River's best defenders this season) returning to the starting line-up.. Rosales is also expected to make his debut with La Banda.. And don't be surprised if Ortega gets some minutes on the field.

Note: Click on the player names highlighted in red (before the player review) to view the goals.

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