River won in Chile and made it to the round of 16 Marcelo Gallardo’s team beat Palestino 2-0, with goals scored by Pinola and Nacho Fernández, and secured its spot in the next phase of the CONMEBOL Libertadores Cup, still having one matchday left.

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River Plate dominated the game in the beginning and started threatening José González’s goal, even though it found it difficult to get close. This was evidenced by the situations which followed: a soft shot by Nicolás De La Cruz blocked by the goalkeeper and another similar shot by Enzo Pérez which was also easily saved by González.

Then, the attacking pair’s roles were reversed in two similar moves. First, Matías Suárez made a pass to Lucas Pratto, but the forward was not able to convert it. Then, it was the other way around: el Oso (the Bear) made a pass to player no. 7 but he was not able to shoot accurately. In the next play, Suárez was replaced by Rafael Borré.

In the first attempt by the local team, Franco Armani responded magnificently to a header by Lucas Passerini, even though the forward was in an off-side position. River’s well-deserved goal arrived after a good free kick by Nacho Fernández and a tremendous header by Javier Pinola, who wore the captain armband in Chile.

El Millionario could have scored the second goal out of a good left-footed crossed ball by Fabrizio Angileri that Borré couldn’t touch in the area and a very clear header by Lucas Martínez Quarta, who won the ball after a corner kick from the right, that passed very close to Gonzalez’s left goalpost.

In the second half, Palestino had its first opportunity by means of a very dangerous shot by Luis Jiménez which passed by Armani’s right goalpost. However, el Millionario never became jumbled and, after a pass by Exequiel Palacios, a subtle touch by De La Cruz and a focused Nacho Fernández, who hurried the goalkeeper and caused him to make a mistake, River scored the second goal in an empty net.

The local team had another clear play at Passerini’s feet, bashing the ball against the crossbar. Then River went for the third goal: De La Cruz passed the ball to Pratto and the forward kicked it high with his right foot and then one more time, after a great collective play, but it did not reach a good destination because Palacios’ centring shot was intercepted.

Towards the end, De La Cruz dominated a good assist by Palacios, but he was stopped right when he took a shot in front of the goal. Borré also had his chance, but kicked the ball high. Thus, River added three points in Chile and made it to the Libertadores round of 16. Now, the last match of the group phase will be against Inter from Porto Alegre, at the Monumental stadium on May 7th.

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