The second friendly trophy of the season was won after "los millonarios" defeated Boca Juniors by 3-2. The game began with the Xeneizes winning with a great header by Gabriel Paletta. After that, River were showing little sign of life, allowing our rivals to dominate the game. Fortunately enough Radamel Falcao Garcia was able to find the net, allowing us to tie the match. A while later Abreu would score. Before you knew it, we were (undeservedly) winning 2-1. From thereon after, River learned to take control of the game. Led by an inspired Alexis Sanchez, the team produced an inexistant penalty -taken by Ariel Ortega- that would increase our lead even more. After that, the team failed to take advantage of a few other situations, and finished the first half above 3-1.
As soon as the second half commenced, referee Sergio Pezzotta seemed to want to apologize to Boca Juniors for his first half mistake (called an inexistant penalty for River) and awarded them with an inexistant penalty as well. Just like in the other play, a player was expelled, this time Paulo Ferrari being the victim. Martin Palermo then traded the penalty for a goal. Having lost a defender, Diego Simeone was forced to make a defensive substitution, and therefore subbed out Ariel Ortega with Rodrigo Archubi. This caused River to lose plenty of offensive power. Eventually Leonardo Ponzio and Gustavo Cabral were also expelled, leaving us with only 8 players for the remainder of the match. With two more players on the field, Boca had the game opened up to them, yet they failed to score one more goal.
The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: No key saves, no major mistakes. Decent game for JP.
Paulo Ferrari: Poor Paulo had to put up with Rodrigo Palacio's diving and complains throughout the whole game. In fact, one of Palacio's dives in the box earned him a red card.
Gustavo Cabral: The ex-Racing player still hasn't consolidated himself as a starter on this team. Although he is considered one of the starting eleven, he hasn't done much to earn himself the spot. From the impression he's left me in the last few friendlies, he seems a bit nervous and commits a lot of fouls. Either way, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and some time to improve.
Eduardo Tuzzio: Not the same player as a few years ago, but still one of our best in defense. Last night he covered Palermo well, and made him unnoticeable throughout most of the game.
Cristian Villagra: I was surprised by the level of the ex-Rosario Central player. Although he's one of the players on our current squad whom I dislike most, he did play a good match, both offensive and defensively. If he continues playing like this, I would say it's fair to give him another shot.
Oscar Ahumada: Recuperated the ball plenty of times, and seems like he is regaining himself a spot.
Matias Abelairas: "Pitu" made Ahumada's job a lot easier by recovering the ball constantly on the left side. Interesting game by Abelairas, who also played well against San Lorenzo on Saturday.
Ariel Ortega: Not the best of games for "el Burrito". He did participate in two goals, though: he assisted Abreu in our second goal, and scored the third one himself.
Alexis Sanchez: Another fantastic game for the Chilean. I would go as far as saying that he was the sole reason we were initally able to flip the partial 0-1 result in the first half. An amazing assist to Falcao for the 1-1 tie, and an immense display of his dribbling abilities in our third goal were the key parts of his performance. I only wish his loan with us (ends in June) could be extended: I just can't get enough of his Jogo Bonito.
Radamel Falcao Garcia: After recuperating his spot on the first team, the Colombian did not let Simeone down. He scored an exiquiste goal, and played an overall good game. One of our best players, just behind Sanchez.
Sebastian Abreu: The Uruguayan scored our second goal. Although it may initially look like an easy goal, upon watching the replays one may realize that he could have missed it as well. I am not saying that I didn't expect him to score, but I believe it was actually a lot harder that it seemed. But he didn't only help our attack: after being left with 8 (2 defenders and one defensive midfielder expelled), "el Loco" went back and helped with the team's defensive duties. This definitely made him go up one level in my books. He did commit some mistakes, though, such as often taking too long to shoot, but I'll cut him some slack due to the other positives he showed.
The Substitutes -
Rodrigo Archubi: The ex-Lanus player continues leaving me with the same impression as in the last few friendlies: he's way too slow. His attacks are way too obvious at his speed, while his defending isn't anything miraculous. Unfortunately, it seems as if we made the wrong choice by bringing him in.
Leonardo Ponzio: Came in in the second half and was expelled. Not much more I can say.
The goals can be seen by clicking on the text in red. If anything, here are the complete highlights: