River started the year in the best way. In the first 2020 official match, it beat Avellaneda’s Independiente 2-1 and, thus, it climbed to the top of the Superleague chart, together with Argentinos Juniors.
With two goals by Rafael Santos Borré, the championship top scorer, Marcelo Gallardo’s team won the postponed match from matchday 14, and it’s at the top seven matchdays away from the end of the tournament.
River had to face this commitment with many players out. Apart from Lucas Martínez Quarta‘s and Nicolás de La Cruz’s suspension, Exequiel Palacios’s departure to a German team and Julián Álvarez’s and Carrascal’s call up for Argentina’s and Colombia’s U-23 national team, respectively, for the Pre-Olympic tournament, Juan Fernando Quintero was dropped from the team on Saturday night due to a gastrointestinal problem.
With three central defenders (Paulo Díaz, Robert Rojas and Javier Pinola), the wingers stood further ahead, as open midfielders. Not only did they block any attempt by Independiente outside the area, but, thanks to their high pressure and quick turn to the offensive, they became River’s best offensive card.
And together, precisely, they produced the first goal of the year. Casco put pressure and got ahead of Leandro Fernández at midfield, made a long pass to Montiel, who made an overlapping run and placed the ball on Borre’s head, for the Colombian to score a front goal at the penalty spot.
It took River ten minutes to adjust themselves to their new scheme on the field. During this period, Franco Armani made a precise intervention to block a shot by Leandro Fernández with his foot. It was the only threatening play for the away team in the first half. However, in the second half, the home team surprised everyone and, in the first approach to the goal, in the first minute, a center pass by Cecilio Domínguez found Silvio Romero on its own, who got behind Pinola and temporarily evened the score by means of a diving header.
After the equalizer, Independiente dominated for 10 minutes, and Armani’s role gained importance. The goalkeeper blocked Barboza’s free-kick and two shots from outside the area by Domínguez and Pablo Pérez.
After 16 minutes, one play changed the course of the game: Barboza was expelled after getting his second yellow card for a foul against Borré. Gallardo decided to seize the numerical advantage and brought on Cristian Ferreira and Scocco to replace Ponzio and Suárez. In the 23rd minute, a precise cross by Paulo Díaz placed Borré in front of Campaña, for the Colombian player to set the score 2-1.