Back on subject: River faced Gimnasia (Jujuy) yesterday in a match that was a make-up of the suspended game between the two in the first round of the Torneo Apertura 2007. The final score was 2-2, with both teams having possibilites to win at different points throughout the 90 minutes.
River played a very good first half, which showed a team with a positive attitude and good teamwork. After several good attempts, the match was opened by Mauro Rosales, after a fantastic assist by Ariel Ortega. The score could have been extended, but the players were not able to conquer the opportunities they were presented with. Gimnasia managed to take advantage of that, and found the 1-1 tie during stoppage time (46 minutes of the first half) with a stupendous shot by Carranza.
Gimnasia (JJ) were a bit more than River during the second half, reason why Juan Marcelo Ojeda was transformed into one of the key players of the match. Despite stopping even the toughest plays, the ex-Rosario Central player was unable to stop Pieter's powerful shot (which began with a foul on Ortega that the ref did not call). The ball ended inside of the net, putting the Jujenos up for the first time in the game. Rolando Zarate eventually made his way in from the bench, and scored in the first opportunity he was given. Both sides put on a good display, making the 2-2 score reasonable in a way.
The Player Review -
Juan Marcelo Ojeda: Undeniably one of the best players on the field. He was able to present us with his first fantastic display with a River jersey, and surprisingly made us not miss Carrizo for the first time since his departure.
Leonardo Ponzio: Just like vs. San Lorenzo, the Argentine International looked out of position and fouled plenty. So far he has not been convincing in the right-back position. Will he play as a defensive midfielder vs. San Martin (SJ)?
Eduardo Tuzzio: It's been a good while since we've seen the "old" Tuzzio. Ever since the end of last season, he has been committing too many errors and has provided a sense of insecurity to the fans. Is it time for him to step aside?
Nicolas Sanchez: The ex-Nueva Chicago player did not impress too much, but did play well vs. San Lorenzo. Still, he is only 21 and has plenty of time to grow.
Paulo Ferrari: During the first half, Paulo put on a good display, providing help defensively and offensively. He did exactly the contrary in the second 45 minutes, in which he was useless. The use of him in the left side (instead of the right side) might be the excuse for his poor performance.
Matias Abelairas: For now, his 2007 Peace Cup peformances were only a shadow of his actual league games. Abelairas has potential, though, and will be given more chances to prove himself.
Oscar Ahumada: The defensive midfielder played well and won in almost all his challenges. He left a good image.
Augusto Fernandez: The right-midfielder contributed a lot with his speed and jukes. Still, I know a lot more can be squeezed out of this youngster.
Ariel Ortega: Just like in the second half vs. San Lorenzo, "el Burrito" was a key part of the team. This time, though, he played the whole 90 minutes as our playmaker. He gave fatal passes throughout the match, including a great assist to Rosales in our first goal. He looked exhausted in the second half, but he still was one of the best of the game.
Mauro Rosales: In my opinion, the ex-Newell's player was the man of the match. Besides the excellent shot that opened up the game for River, Mauro also stole the ball and centered the ball perfectly for Rolando Zarate in the second goal. His potential shots, passes, speed, and jukes are exactly the reason why Rosales has to be a starter for "la banda".
Marco Ruben: Very, very poor match. His lack of good performances, as well as Zarate's goal, are the reasons why he should be on the bench for now.
Rolando Zarate: Surprised everyone by scoring in his debut for los millonarios. He scored after a quality header, and proved that his goal-scoring instincts are still intact. If you ask me, he should be given a chance as a starter alongside Rosales.
Sixto Peralta: The other debutee of the night played as horrible as we expected. Besides being extremely slow, he barely even managed to touch the ball. To top it off, he replaced Rosales, causing our offensiveness to drop tremendously. I hope he doesn't receive any more opportunities.
Rene Lima: The #5 did not play enough time to be judged.
The most worrisome part of the team was the defense. Believe it or not, they played even less convincingly than vs. San Lorenzo. Something must be done to fix it, because we won't get anywhere defending like that. Maybe replacing Eduardo Tuzzio with Cristian Nasuti or Federico Lussenhoff? Perhaps. Only time will tell.
On a side note, Alexis Sanchez managed to score three goals in his first practice with River. He impressed the coaching staff so much that Daniel Passarella has decided to take him to San Juan to face San Martin on Sunday. It is almost assured that he will not be a starter, but the sign that he will most probably be on the bench is good.
For now we only have 2 of the 6 possible points we played for. The fact that we are 7 points away from league leaders Independiente (we have one game less) is worrisome. A win on Sunday will be essential for the squad's chance this season.