The first half was all Botafogo. The offensive 4-3-3 formation by Passarella proved to be useless, with River not having a single clear chance in the first 45 minutes. There was pretty much no midfield, so how was the ball going to get to the fowards? Despite not playing amazing football, the home side managed to take advantage of our coach's mistake and had a few potential shots. After some unsuccessful attempts, Joilson finally put the ball through the net at the 44th minute of the match.
The second part of the game was a completely different story. With Matias Abelairas replacing Rene Lima and Sixto Peralta coming in for Marco Ruben, River returned to the original 4-3-1-2 formation. The players were then able to control the ball, as well as the game. Unfortunately, none of our shots went into Max's goal, leaving us with a mission to win next Thursday in the Monumental.
The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: In his first game since his return from Rome, Carrizo played a good match. Despite not having any amazing saves, he stopped a few shots and had no responsibility in Botafogo's goal.
Cristian Villagra: The ex-Rosario Central defender is still failing to leave a positive image. Either way, he had a complicated task of keeping the goal free from players like Joilson.
Nicolas Sanchez: Decent match. Some positive points, some negative ones. Since his arrival, he has left a good image, but does not look irreplaceable either.
Danilo Gerlo: "Paco" was our best defender during the 90 minutes of the game. He may have not had a Roberto Ayala performance (in fact, he was far from it), but he did a good job in completing his duties.
Emmanuel Martinez: The 18-year old was our only defender to not receive a yellow card. Still, he showed signs of not being ready to be in the starting line-up yet. For now, Paulo Ferrari will not have to worry about losing the right-back position.
Fernando Belluschi: Belluschi was one of our best players, especially in the second half with a playmaker next to him. It wasn't a fantastic match for the #8, but he was still one of our most dangerous players.
Leonardo Ponzio: Ponzio recuperated several balls, but did not provide the expected offensiveness to the team. During the match he played three different positions (right midfielder, defensive midfielder, and right back), doing his best in the last one.
Rene Lima: Tonight's game resulted in a poor match for the youngster. Contrary to what he showed in other matches, Lima was doing everything wrong. He often tried to surprise our rivals by making quick plays, but gave away the ball every time.
Alexis Sanchez: The Chilean was chosen man of the match by Fox Sports en Espanol. His speed and jukes helped him become a real threat. He produced one of our clearest opportunities, yet failed to find other players that were at his level.
Marco Ruben: Our #9 did not touch the ball much in the first half (he was not present in the second part). Still, it wasn't necessarily his fault, since the ball wasn't arriving much up front.
Radamel Falcao Garcia: The Colombian did well in a few occassions, yet wasn't a major threat.
The Substitutes -
Matias Abelairas: The left-wing came in for Rene Lima, who was having a poor match, and completely changed the game. The good passes weren't his only contribution, though: he ran up and down the field the whole time, and appeared through the left, right, and middle.
Sixto Peralta: I was surprised by "Mumo". It's not that he gave a stellar performance, but he did give some nice passes and created a few good plays.
Oscar Ahumada: Oscar entered in the middle of the second half. He gained possession for River every now and then, and was much more solid than Ponzio.
Even though it wasn't the worst River we've seen, the squad lacked the good football shown at home vs. Estudiantes, Velez, and Lanus. Either way, we were missing 5 starters (6 if you count Ojeda), including key players in both our defense and offense. Botafogo did not play a great game either, making me believe that a win next week in the Monumental will not be impossible, especially if our starting eleven are present. Aguante River!