"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.