River gave its all at the Monumental Stadium, but it wasn’t enough Marcelo Gallardo’s team played a great match and deserved a better result against Atlético Tucumán: it took the lead 4-1, but couldn’t make it to the Superleague Cup quarter finals.

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River was like a whirlwind from the beginning and didn’t let Atlético Tucumán breathe. It trapped the visitor in its area and the goal opportunities were not long in coming: Nicolás De La Cruz put together a good individual play and set up Nacho Fernández, who was not able to shoot comfortably. Then, Milton Casco tried from the outside and Matías Suárez won the area, but his header went out of the pitch.

Suarez came from the left and sent the ball to the centre, but Lucas Pratto missed it by a few centimetres. Casco shot once more from the outside, but the ball was deflected by a rival defender. And then came the goal: after a good assist by Suárez, Camilo Mayada left the ball to Nacho and the midfielder gave a backheel kick and scored el Millionario’s well-deserved 1-0, but there was still more to come. Ariel Penel did not see a clear hand inside Mathías Abero’s area, which should’ve been a penalty for River.

Nacho Fernández had the second chance by means of a left-footed kick, which was blocked by Cristian Lucchetti, who appeared again to block a header by Pratto that almost entered near the second goalpost. El Oso had two consecutive chances, a shot from the outside and a play from the right which did not find a teammate in the area. The only threat from Atlético was rightly met by Franco Armani in a one-to-one encounter with David Barona.

Towards the end of the first half, Exequiel Palacios blasted a lobbed header against Lucchetti’s right goalpost and, a few minutes before the end, Pratto took advantage of a series of rebounds in the area to define from the right, under Lucchetti, to score the second goal, thus culminating an excellent first half for el Millonario.

At the beginning of the second half, the away team scored a dead-ball goal and Javier Toledo set the score 2-1, which forced Gallardo’s squad to score three more goals. River responded quickly and Suárez, after a header by Pratto which hit the goalpost followed by an assist from De La Cruz, set the score 3-1.

River kept going and putting together very clear plays: Nacho had the fourth opportunity by means of a free kick which deflected and was blocked by Lucchetti, Pratto couldn’t comfortably head a centre assist by Suárez coming from the left, and Lucas Martínez Quarta won in the area, but his header went over Atletico’s crossbar.

During another good collective play, Palacios gave way to Pratto and the shot by player no. 27 went slightly over Lucchetti’s goal. Then, De La Cruz came from the right, moved towards the

centre and kicked a left-footed shot which was saved by the rival goalkeeper. A clear chance arrived through the head of Rafael Borré, who blasted the crossbar after a centre assist by Mayada from the left. The fourth goal finally arrived, five minutes before the end, by means of a header by Pratto after a corner kick.

El Millionario needed one more goal, which almost arrived by means of a middle-distance shot by Martínez Quarta, which Lucchetti had to save twice. River played until the end, but it was one goal short to qualify for the Superleague Cup semi-finals. Anyway, the Monumental stadium said goodbye to the champions of the Americas with a great round of applause.

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