The CONMEBOL Libertadores evenings have returned to the Mâs Monumental stadium, with River performing well in the local tournament and focused on winning its first game in the regional tournament. However, in the beginning, Sporting Cristal took River by surprise when Ignacio Da Silva scored a header off a free kick, setting the score at 1-0. River quickly recovered and started creating opportunities to even the score.
Lucas Beltrán failed to collect a long-range shot from Nacho Fernández, then, River’s No. 10 threatened Renato Solís, who made a flying save by his right post to prevent the goal. Finally, Nicolás De La Cruz set the score at 1-1 with a great header off an on-target cross from Enzo Díaz. River was close to widening the lead on three clear opportunities: a header from Salomón Rondón, which smashed against one of the posts, a shot from Beltrán, and a cross from Milton Casco, which Beltrán failed to strike.
In the 36th minute, Esequiel Barco zig-zagged his way up the left-hand side and sent a low right-footed shot into the keeper's near post. A few minutes later, Enzo Díaz was sent off with a direct red card and, on that free kick, Washington Corozo set the score at 2-2 with a shot into Franco Armani's left corner.
A few minutes into the second half, River took the lead again: following a series of rebounds on a move up the right side of the field, Barco struck a shot that deflected off a defender and flew over Solari, setting the score at 3-2. River didn’t stop and, even being one player down, set out on the attack, setting the score at 4-2 with an exquisite shot from Pablo Solari, off an assist from Enzo Pérez.
The team managed by Demichelis controlled the game and claimed three very important points in the group stage. On Sunday, River will play a Professional Football League match against Independiente, at the Mâs Monumental stadium.