Wednesday, October 31, 2007

River Plate: 0 - Defensor Sporting: 0 - Copa Sudamericana 2007

In what was a generally bad and boring game, River Plate were able to tie 0-0 with Defensor Sporting and find their way to officially becoming one of the four best teams in the Copa Sudamericana.

As mentioned previously, the match wasn't too pretty, but we got the job done. No worries, though: I've seen River play some great matches and still lose... I prefer the first option.

The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: Carrizo was great last night. Despite giving away the ball and almost costing us the qualification (Tuzzio saved the ball on the line), JP had some amazing saves and was the closest thing to the "old" Carrizo we've seen yet.
Leonardo Ponzio: The Argentine International played yet another good match and continues improving in the left-back position. He didn't hesitate to clear the ball when he had a chance to, something that players like Villagra and Lussenhoff often forget to do.
Eduardo Tuzzio: Our best defender last night. He stopped a shot on the line and recuperated ball after ball. Very solid.
Nicolas Sanchez: The youngster had a fantastic season (notice the word "had"). Unfortunately, the ex-Nueva Chicago central defender was injured in the second half and won't be appearing until 2008. His spot will be taken by Cristian Nasuti and/or Danilo Gerlo from now on. :(
Paulo Ferrari: Our captain did well... until he was expelled! With just one minute left (93rd minute of the match), Ferrari "spoke too much", causing the referee to show him the red card. We will now be missing two key defenders vs. Arsenal (N. Sanchez being the other one).
Matias Abelairas: "Pitu" attacked efficiently in the first few minutes of the game, but later disappeared. He didn't show much more after that.
Oscar Ahumada: The defensive midfielder didn't prove the authority he had been showing in the last few games.
Fernando Belluschi: Despite not being praised by neither the media nor the fans last night, I thought Belluschi played a good game. Nothing espectacular (.. he did miss an easy goal), but he played with heart and fought for every ball. He's been doing that this whole season, reason for which I would love to see him stay past December.
Ariel Ortega: "El Burrito" was almost completely blocked by the Uruguayan defenders in the first half. In the last 45 minutes, though, he started appearing more (mostly towards the end of the match). When he was on he was one of the best, but he still underperformed overall.
Mauro Rosales: The ex-Ajax foward had some of River's clearest opportunities, including a shot on the post. Unfortunately for Mauro, everything seems to indicate that he will be a substitute in the Semi-Finals since Buonanotte has been inscribed in the squad list.
Radamel Falcao Garcia: The Fox commentators constantly bashed him by calling him a ball hog, but I believe they were being a little too harsh. Has Falcao spoiled us all with his goal-scoring spree? I guess so! His performance was neither bad nor good, though.

In the next round we will be facing Arsenal de Sarandi, another Argentine side. Although we are the bigger side in terms of history, Arsenal are a very tough team and have even beaten us in this year's Apertura. It will be even harder to defeat them missing both Paulo Ferrari and Nicolas Sanchez, but I still have faith on the team. Vamos River!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

River - Defensor Sporting: The Preview

After Thursday's 2-2 tie with Defensor Sporting on Thursday, River will be looking to find a positive result that will officially make them one of the four semi-finalists. This match will be played in the Monumental (our stadium), giving the "millonarios" a slight advantage over the Uruguayans. The following eleven will be starting tomorrow:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sánchez-Eduardo Tuzzio-Leonardo Ponzio;
Fernando Belluschi-Oscar Ahumada-Matias Abelairas;
Ariel Ortega;
Mauro Rosales-Radamel Falcao Garcia

Two of our normal starters will be missing: youngers Diego Buonanotte is still not inscribed in the Copa Sudamericana squad list, while right-wing Augusto Fernandez is currently injured and will be out for weeks. Buonanotte will once again be replaced by Mauro Rosales, who had played well in the first leg of the series. Meanwhile, Belluschi will be moving to Fernandez's spot, leaving Matias Abelairas in charge of the left side.


The following results will grant River the qualification:
- Any win in our favor.
- A 0-0 tie.
- A 1-1 tie.

The following results will grant Defensor Sporting the qualification:
- Any win in their favor.
- A 3-3 tie or above (i.e. - 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, etc.)

If the final match result is 2-2, the game will then proceed to penalty kicks to determine a winner.

You can catch the game live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 5:00 PM Pacific / 8:00 PM Eastern Time. A replay of the match will be shown at 11:00 PM Pacific / 2:00 AM Eastern Time on the same day (same channel as well).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Defensor Sporting: 2 - River Plate: 2 - Copa Sudamericana 2007

River Plate could not manage to take advantage of their two leads in the match (1-0 and 2-1) and ended up tieing with Defensor Sporting. Our goals were scored by Ariel Ortega (penalty) and Radamel Falcao Garcia.

A 2-2 tie isn't a bad result, especially considering that this was an away match, but I still have a sour taste in my mouth since both goals could have been avoided. Juan Pablo Carrizo committed errors in both shots, which could end up being very costly for River.

Here are the highlights of the match:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Defensor Sporting - River: The Preview

River will be facing Defensor Sporting today in what will be the first leg of the Quarter-Final match up between the two. River will be fielding most of their normal starters, excluding Oscar Ahumada (suspended) and Diego Buonanotte (not inscribed in the squad list for this tournament). The following eleven will be looking for the win from the first minutes:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sanchez-Eduardo Tuzzio-Leonardo Ponzio;
Augusto Fernandez-Nicolas Domingo-Fernando Belluschi;
Ariel Ortega;
Mauro Rosales-Radamel Falcao Garcia


Mauro Rosales will be a bit more back, playing as a midfielder/foward. His role will be similar to Buonanotte's, the only difference being that he would play on the right side rather than the left.

Defensor Sporting's most dangerous player will be Carlos Maria Morales. Despite being 37 years old, the foward is full of skill and has already scored 4 goals (...golazos) in this year's edition of the Copa Sudamericana. There are several other fantastic players on this team, so River must be extremely careful when attacking (the Uruguayans could liquidate the match in a few counter attacks).

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 4:00 PM Pacific / 7:00 PM Eastern Time. A replay/tape delay will be shown tomorrow (Friday) as well, at 11:00 AM Pacific / 2:00 PM Eastern Time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Harsh Reality: River's Economy

Last night, Deportivo La Coruña added themselves to the long list of Augusto Fernandez-wanting teams (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Villarreal, Juventus, Lazio, etc.). Add that to the possible departures of Radamel Falcao Garcia (rumoured to possibly go to the EPL), Fernando Belluschi (always wanted during each transfer window), and Juan Pablo Carrizo (scheduled to return to Lazio).

This is sad because River finally started playing well after a loooong time. If we maintain this team we could actually fight for championships and start winning things. Unfortunately, it seems as if Aguilar & Co. are at it again. I am not a fortune teller, but everything seems to indicate that the following things have a good possibility of happening in December:

- River will lose their "goleador". It had been since the Cavenaghi days that we needed one of these. Someone finally stepped up, and his name is Radamel Falcao Garcia. It would actually be more surprising to see him stay than leave. Our search for a top-scorer will have to begin once again.
- River will lose two right-wings. Augusto Fernandez is currently playing on the right, and Fernando Belluschi on the left side. When Fernandez doesn't start, Belluschi moves back to his original position. With both of them possibly leaving, who will play on the right side (let's see if anyone can actually come up with a decent answer)?
- River will lose their starting goalkeeper. Juan Pablo Carrizo's loan will end and he will return to Lazio. Juan Marcelo Ojeda proved to be a good goalkeeper, but after being inactive for months, will he be able to recuperate his form?

None of these players are guaranteed to leave, but can we really expect them to stay? Besides them, other unmentioned players could be on their way out: Nicolas Sanchez and Oscar Ahumada were wanted in Italy, Cristian Nasuti could leave in exchange for minutes at another club, etc. How can River expect to win championships this way? It hurts to say it, but our arch-rivals Boca Juniors have been more than successful this decade. Their secret? A good and stable economy, which does not depend on selling their key players every six months. A clear example of this is their starting foward Rodrigo Palacio, who has been at the club for almost three years now. If he were to have arrived at River, there is no doubt that he would have left a long time ago. Instead of relying on transfers, can't we be more like Boca in the sense of maintaining the same team for more than one season and actually win important things? Besides, this would eventually bring in more money due to tournament prizes, player values going up, an increase merchandise sales, etc.

I didn't want to break the ice in the middle of our good moment, but nightmares are beginning to creep into my mind once again. With Jose Maria Aguilar in charge of our finances, even the unimaginable is inevitable.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gimnasia (LP): 0 - River Plate: 2 - Torneo Apertura 2007

During their match for the 14th Round of the Argentine Torneo Apertura 2007, River Plate were able to notch up their first away win of the season.

In the first half Diego Buonanotte put the ball past the net. Falcao then followed his footsteps, but the referee incorrectly called a foul on Gimnasia goalkeeper Cejas. Fortunately for the Colombian, he was able to gain his revenge by scoring River's final goal towards the last minutes of the match.

The game was important for many reasons:
- River has been having tremendous difficulties winning away from home. In fact, they were unable to win any of the eight played "outside" this season (till now of course).
- With Independiente losing to San Lorenzo, the difference in points between us and the leaders have now been minimized. Unfortunately, Lanus defeated San Martin (SJ) by a margin of 2-0 and our now the top team of the tournament. We are still five points away from them, with Independiente, Tigre, Argentinos Juniors, and Boca in between.

Ariel Ortega was once again the man of the match with his amazing passes and impressive ability. Diego Buonanotte also did great, scoring his second official goal in Primera. "The Dwarf" is not inscribed in River's Copa Sudamericana squad list, meaning that Daniel Passarella will not be able to repeat the same 11 that defeated Boca Juniors and Gimnasia (LP) on Thursday. Mauro Rosales, who came in in the second half yesterday, is expected to take his place.

Overall the team has made some major improvements as compared to early on in the season, with Ortega and Buonanotte's magic looking like the key to success. Radamel Falcao Garcia alo has to be thanked (the foward scored 6 goals in the last 4 games). The Copa Sudamericana and the Torneo Apertura, which both looked to be nothing else but an illusion before, are now becoming actually possibilites. Will Passarella and his boys find their long awaited oasis anytime soon?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gimnasia (LP) - River: The Preview

After a fantastic display two weeks ago vs. Boca Juniors, River Plate will finally be returning to the pitch. This time our rivals will be Gimnasia de La Plata, who aren't standing very firmly on the standings, but have been improving a lot since the arrival of new head coach Julio Cesar Falcioni.

Daniel Passarella will be starting the same eleven that defeated "Los Xeneizes":

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sanchez-Eduardo Tuzzio-Leonardo Ponzio;
Augusto Fernandez-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Ariel Ortega-Diego Buonanotte;
Radamel Falcao Garcia

Although it may seem like it, the team will not be playing with two playmakers. Ortega will be a bit more up front, while Buonanotte will probably be a few steps behind him. Either way, this great duo will cause severe damage to it's rivals if they continue playing like they did in the Superclasico.


Two players that River must be careful with are Luciano Leguizamon and Ignacio Piatti. Leguizamon is an ex-River player, though he didn't receive many minutes (if any at all). He is a foward who can't stop scoring, and is used to putting the ball past the net for "el Lobo". Piatti, meanwhile, is a very young midfielder who is full of skill and good football. If our defenders are not able to contain them, both players will be very dangerous.

The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Post-Superclasico 2007: Videos & Pictures

Well, I couldn't find the exact highlights I was hoping for, but I did find the following video (which I think is fantastic). It was made by "La Pagina Millonaria", and it shows the goals, some of the jukes (Ariel Ortega and Diego Buonanotte), but most importantly our amazing fans. Watch them set up a huge party in the Monumental, which included 180 red and white ribbons, thousands of balloons, and 2 tons of confetti paper.


Enjoy!

About a month ago I also created a thread, based on our amazing fans, on the BigSoccer forums. It includes several pictures and videos from past games. I just posted some of Sunday's match vs. Boca, so feel free to check those out. If you want to see them or contribute to the subject, visit this link.

- Gonzalo

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Superclasico 2007: The Goals

Here are the goals of River Plate's 2-0 Superclasico win over Boca Juniors.

1st Goal: Radamel Falcao Garcia



2nd Goal: Ariel Ortega


The rest of the highlights are scheduled to be posted tomorrow. Enjoy!

River Plate: 2 - Boca Juniors: 0 - Torneo Apertura 2007

"Oooole, ooooole, oooooole, ooooole!!". The night finished off with River fans chanting and celebrating of joy. The ball, which went from River player to River player, could not be acquired by Boca Juniors, who were struggling in a day filled with fantastic football and passion displayed by the red-and-white side.

From the beginning, River Plate were clearly the better side. The "Millonaires" were able to open up the match with a powerful left-footed shot by Radamel Falcao Garcia. The difference was extended 10 minutes later, when Diego Buoanotte was fouled in Boca's area, leaving Ariel Ortega with a penalty which he later exchanged for a goal. During injury time of the first half, Ever Banega of Boca Juniors was given a second yellow card due to a very hard foul on Paulo Ferrari. After this, the match seemed like a free training ground for River players.

In the second half, River continued having opportunities but failed to conquer them. Either way, with a partial 2-0 score in our favor, the team didn't seem to be looking for a goal as much as before. They were more dedicated to the constant passing, the jukes (mainly coming from Ortega), and the embarrassment they made of the bosteros. The match eventually ended, leaving all River fans happy, though the score could have been maximized with a little more effort.

The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: Not much for Carrizo to do but just sit back, relax, and enjoy the spectacle. Boca probably had one or two shots in the whole game, but even those weren't dangerous. Either way, we give two thumbs up to our starting keeper.
Paulo Ferrari: Although he wasn't too noticeable, he did a good job containing Rodrigo Palacio. He also had an important play which favored River throughout the match: with his speed, he managed to start a fast counterattack which resulted in a foul by Banega. The defensive midfielder was then expelled, leaving "la Banda" with an easy game thereafter.
Eduardo Tuzzio: Very firm in the back, like usual. With his never ending clearing and recuperations, he was one of the best defenders of the day.
Nicolas Sanchez: The ex-Nueva Chicago player had a good game and formed part of our solid defense, something that had been missing for quite a while lately.
Leonardo Ponzio: I was surprised to see him be a starter today, but I was even more surprised to see him play a great match. He may have not been accurate with his shots, but he defended very well and never stopped recuperating the ball. He ended up playing on the left side, and was much more solid than Cristian Villagra.
Augusto Fernandez: The youngster was one of the worst on the field, but this doesn't matter much: even then, it means that he wasn't as great as the other players but still did well. He gave some very good passes, though, such as the play in which he switched the ball to Fernando Belluschi (this led to our first goal).
Oscar Ahumada: Decent job by the #5. Not bad, not great: just fine.
Fernando Belluschi: Nice assist to Falcao on the first goal, and a very good game after that.
Diego Buonanotte: "El Enano" (the dwarf) continued bringing his magic to the pitch and received a standing ovation upon being replaced towards the end of the match. Besides, creating the second goal (he was the player who was fouled on the penalty), he participated a lot in the match and threw a few jukes here and there. He was fouled very often by Boca's players, who could not contain his fire. Having already proved himself in the few opportunities he has received lately, will he continue playing in the near future?
Ariel Ortega: "El Burrito" was simply the man of the match. One goal (the penalty shot), several great passes, humiliation of the "Bosteros": Ortega did it all. In his first Superclasico since his return to River, the ex-Argentine International proved that he is one of the best players in the league. He never stopped juking and was more than successful at it. 5/5 stars. Oooooorteeeeega, Oooooorteeeeega!!
Radamel Falcao Garcia: The Colombian seems to have opened up the goal to himself after scoring vs. Botafogo: in the last 3 games he played, he scored 5 goals. Falcao does not stop impressing and will be a vital part of this team if he continues to keep his form up. Let's just hope he doesn't get injured while playing for the Colombian National Team, though.
The Substitutes -
Matias Abelairas: Besides a few things every now and then, Abelairas was unable to leave his mark in one of the most important matches of the year. No negative points, especially since he came in during a moment of relaxtion and complete control for River, but not too many positives either.
Andres Rios and Mauro Rosales: Both fowards came in during the final minutes of the match and did not have time to show off their potential.

With the South American World Cup Qualifiers coming up, River will be able to rest for the next two weeks. We will return to the pitch vs. Gimnasia de La Plata, who will be arriving from a 1-1 tie with defending champions San Lorenzo.

Aguante River.. Thanks for this joy! Highlights and videos of the goals to be posted soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

River - Boca: The Preview

River Plate and Boca Juniors will be playing the 181st edition of the Superclasico (in the local league) tomorrow. The match, like always, is expected to be full of great football and excitement, clearly seperating it from the rest of the games in the league. Who will be playing for River? The following eleven are the ones expected to start:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sanchez-Danilo Gerlo-Eduardo Tuzzio;
Augusto Fernandez-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Diego Buonanotte;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Ariel Ortega;

Almost all of the players listed above are very likely to play, but there is still one big doubt: will Andres Rios start? Despite scoring in the last 3 games in which he started, the Argentine press is now reporting that Daniel Passarella is analyzing the possibility of giving Diego Buonanotte a shot over him. "The dwarf", as he is nicknamed, has impressed fans with his jukes and ability in the last two matches, and the "Kaiser" wants to play him vs. Boca to add a bit of spice to the game. In the case that he does play, Ariel Ortega would be moving more up front alongside Falcao and would be more of a foward than a playmaker.

Besides the possible inclusion of Buonanotte, there will only be one change to the normal starting line-up River have displayed this season. Danilo Gerlo, who was substitued because of an injury vs. Argentinos Juniors, will be replacing Cristian Villagra, of poor form lately. Eduardo Tuzzio, though, will be the one covering the left back position, while Gerlo will be one of the two central defenders.

Edit: Daniel Passarella surprised everyone, and Leonardo Ponzio will actually be the one replacing Cristian Villagra. Ferrari will move to the left and Ponzio to the right, leaving Tuzzio and N. Sanchez in the middle. It has also been confirmed that Buonanotte will replace Rios, as speculated previously. The line-up has been updated above.

Boca Juniors, meanwhile, will almost surely display the following players from the first minute:

Mauricio Caranta;
Hugo Ibarra-Gabriel Paletta-Jonathan Maidana-Morel Rodriguez;
Pablo Ledesma-Ever Banega-Jesus Datolo;
Leandro Gracian;
Martin Palermo-Rodrigo Palacio;

This is a very dangerous side, with a strong defense and some good offense. Martin Palermo is a goal scoring machine, even at 33 years of age. Rodrigo Palacio, on the other hand, adds speed, while Gracian brings the passes and assists to Boca. If River defends like we have been lately (15 goals conceded in the last 4 games), then we could see a very horrific result. Hopefully the team goes out and plays like they did vs. Velez or vs. Botafogo in the second half, but you never know what might happen.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol and Fox Soccer Channel at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

River to Face Defensor Sporting

Despite today's final result of 2-0 favoring El Nacional of Ecuador, Defensor Sporting were able to advance to the Quarter-Finals of the Copa Sudamericana 2007, where they will be facing River Plate.

The Uruguayans will be very tough rivals, who have a great squad and have been doing very well in International competitions lately. I won't be saying much more than that, though: look for the preview a few days before the first leg is played. :)

The first leg of the series is scheduled to be played on Thursday, October 25th, while the second match will take place in the Monumental on Tuesday, October 30th.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Argentinos Juniors: 4 - River Plate: 1 - Torneo Apertura 2007

River lost 4-1 to Argentinos Juniors today, with Marco Ruben scoring our only goal. Without having seen the match, I wasn't too surprised when seeing the final result, due to River resting 6 normal starters (including 3 of 4 starting defenders) and returning to the 4-4-2 formation.

The loss has left us 9 points away from league leaders Independiente. Nice why to prepare for the Superclasico, right? (**sarcasm**)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Argentinos - River: The Preview

With all the substitutes that will be starting tomorrow, it would be fair to say that River "B" will be visiting Argentinos Juniors tomorrow. The following eleven will start:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Leonardo Ponzio-Danilo Gerlo-Federico Lusenhoff-Cristian Villagra;
Belluschi/Burzac-Nicolas Domingo-Rene Lima-Matias Abelairas;
Ariel Ortega-Marco Ruben;

Nicolas Sanchez, Eduardo Tuzzio, Paulo Ferrari, Augusto Fernandez, Oscar Ahumada, and Radamel Falcao Garcia will all be resting. Although many of them have been exhausted due to the tremendous efforts shown vs. Botafogo and Rosario Central, the expected starting team brings up a few worries:

1) Ponzio, Gerlo, Lussenhoff, and Villagra. What do I think when I hear those names? I think of literally our four worst players this season. Surprisingly enough, they will be making up our last line on the field tomorrow. Either way, it's not like our defense has been playing well lately, so I wouldn't necessarily say we are losing too much with these changes. Still, if Argentinos Juniors put out an offensive display, it shouldn't be too complicated for them to score.
2) The team will be playing without a playmaker, returning to the dreadful 4-4-2 formation. The last time we tried playing without a #10, we saw a horrible performance vs. Botafogo in the first leg of the Round of Sixteen of the Copa Sudamericana. Was it really necessary to put Rene Lima over Diego Buonanotte, who was fantastic on Sunday?
3) The two fowards don't seem to score much. Ariel Ortega often fails to leave a good image when playing as a foward, contrary to his game in the midfield. Marco Ruben, meanwhile, has been our striker with the worst goals per game ratio this season. Why couldn't we make room for Rios or Zarate, moving "el Burrito" back to his original position?
4) Argentinos Juniors are a great team at home, having beaten tough rivals such as Boca, Colon, and Newell's Old Boys there. Last week, in fact, they won 4-0 in their stadium! Add that to the fact that they always give River a hard time, and it makes you start wondering why are making so many unnecessary changes. A few are understandable, but I contiue to ask: why not play with a 4-3-1-2, with Ortega or Buonanotte as playmakers? Besides, Independiente won 3-0 over Gimnasia (JJ) today. Can we really afford to lose any more points?

A positive point is that Mauro Rosales has returned from his injury and will be on the bench. After his request to gain some minutes before the Superclasico, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him come in for the second half.

The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

Monday, October 1, 2007

River Plate: 3 - Rosario Central: 3 - Torneo Apertura 2007

What seemed to be a generally easy match, resulted in a tough day for River. The main problem was once again our team's defense, which our opponents would go through like a knife through butter.

"Los Millonarios" underperformed in the first half. Rosario Central, who hadn't been playing a very good game either, managed to score and put themselves up. In the second half, they took advantage of our weak defense once again and upgraded the partial result to 2-0. River, with youngster Diego Buonanotte on field, finally decided to wake up and almost re-accomplished the "Botafogo Miracle". With the team having tied 2-2 (goals by Andres Rios and Buonanotte), the third goal did not seem too far away. Unfortunately, the "Canallas" found a way to put themselves up for the third time in the game during injury time. But that wasn't the end of the match: Radamel Falcao Garcia, who entered in the second half, scored the decisive goal in the last minute of the game, just like he had vs. Botafogo on Thursday.

With both Independiente and Boca Juniors having lost their matches to Banfield and Newell's Old Boys, respectively, River Plate lost a good chance to renew their opportunities and catch up to the top teams. Still, the match left positive points, such as the team's accomplishment of tieing a tough game, as well as the very much awaited appearance of Diego Buonanotte.

The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: Not bad, but not very safe either. Although he shouldn't be blamed for any of the goals, he still fails to provide the same secure feeling he gave us last semester.
The Whole Defense: Horrible. Everyone played bad. Paulo Ferrari showed signs of being completely worn out due to the long series of games played lately.
Fernando Belluschi: He attempted to help out a lot, but was very tired. His constant pressure in the last few matches is finally starting to effect the ex-Newell's player.
Nicolas Domingo: It may have not been his best match, but he continues being my favorite defensive midfielder on the team. He played because of Ahumada's suspension yesterday. Will he get another shot vs. Boca on Sunday?
Augusto Fernandez: Just like Ferrari and Belluschi, Fernandez was heavily affected by the all the matches played in such a short period time. Early on in the first half he hit the post with a strong shot from outside the box. Besides that, his exhaustion did not allow him to do much. Will any of these three players get a rest vs. Argentinos Juniors, or will they arrive in these conditions for the Superclasico?
Sixto Peralta: Poor match for "el Mumo". He didn't do anything important, and the team played bad with his conduction. When he was substituted, it was a completely different story. Sorry Peralta, but I don't think you were meant to play for this team.
Andres Rios: This kid cannot stop scoring. With Marco Ruben doing poorly, he started to receive opportunities and did not let Passarella down: in the last three games he started, he has scored three goals. Need I say more?
Rolando Zarate: After not playing since August, "Roly" was given another shot: this time as a starter in place of Falcao. He had a few nice headers but could not score. Not bad, but there always is some room for improvement.

The Substitutes -
Diego Buonanotte: The youngster, who had only played 8 minutes in Primera before this, replaced Peralta and was the man of the match. His excellent goal was only the frosting of his performance, which also included jukes and great passes. We were told a lot of good things regarding him in the past, and now he proved it with his football. Can we dream a little and hope to see him wear "la banda" on his chest vs. Boca?
Radamel Falcao Garcia: The Colombian, who hadn't started due to exhaustion and a slight injury, came in at the same time as Buonanotte and was the other player who changed the face of the game. He had several good opportunities, and even put the ball through the net towards the end of the match. He is playing fantastic, and I still fail to realize how anyone can jump as well as he can (he jumped almost 2 meters; see above picture).
Matias Abelairas: The left-winger replaced Augusto Fernandez and did a decent job. A few good things here and there, but his unexpected greediness missed River's chance to win the game when the score was still 2-2.

The result, which isn't too good considering our opponents were last in the league, was surprising and in a way satisfying considering how the match had started. The biggest joys, though, were the youngsters who came from our lower divisions: all three goalscorers (Rios, Buonanotte, and Falcao) were made in River. Other players, like Augusto Fernandez, Carrizo, Domingo, and Abelairas have also done well with our jersey, proving that buying players from other clubs isn't necessarily the solution to our bad moment. In fact, our worst players this season (Villagra, Lussenhoff, Ponzio, Ruben and Peralta) all came from "outside" clubs. Of course there is the ocassional good outcome (Belluschi and Ferrari are clear examples), but our youngsters are proving that they deserve a chance more than anyone. Will players like Mussachio, Oliva, Cardozo, Buoanotte, etc. start receiving regular opportunities anytime soon? Hopefully, but we'll have to leave that for Passarella to decide.