River loses penalty shootout, failing to qualify for the semifinals

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Marcelo Gallardo's team drew 2-2 against Patronato in La Rioja, but the team from Entre Rios won in the penalty shootout (4-3), qualifying for the next stage.

The match was off to a vibrant start: Ezequiel Centurion made an amazing save on a header from Jonathan Herrera, off a cross from the left-hand side. River responded with a collective play and a toe-poke shot from Agustin Palavecino at the edge of the box, that was saved by Facundo Altamirano. In the 10th minute, Bruno Zuculini set the score at 1-0 with a shot off a great play on the left-hand side, involving Milton Casco, Lucas Beltran and Palavecino.

River took advantage of the momentum, giving it all to widen the lead: there were some clear chances at Zuculini’s feet (his shot went high) and at Pablo Solari's (his shot was saved by Altamirano); and a clear penalty was not awarded by Espinoza following a shot from Solari that touched a rival defender’s hand. In the defense, Centurion made a confident save on key shots, including a good save on a shot from Sebastian Medina.

Juanfer Quintero was close to scoring the second goal, zigzagging from right to left on one corner of the area, but his left-footed shot smashed against the keeper’s right post. Unfortunately, Patronato evened the score with a shot from Marcelo Estigarribia. Before the end of the first half, Enzo Perez collected a rebound off a corner kick and struck a great volley that went just high over the bar.

Patronato had a better start to the second half and, in a matter of minutes, following a defensive lapse, Herrera crossed a right-footed shot that Centurion wasn’t able to save, setting the score at 2-1. River got back in the game and evened the score with an Olympic goal from Quintero, after several shots on goal. River took control of the match and cornered Patronato; Quintero almost set the score at 3-2 with a free kick that was saved by the rival keeper by his right post.

Esequiel Barco also had a chance to score in one of his first plays, making a run up the field on the left-hand side and striking a crossed left-footed shot that went just wide of the corner. Toward the end, Barco struck a good cross and Zuculini kicked it in mid-air; however, the ball went straight into Altamirano’s hands. River’s No. 5 had another chance with a left-footed shot, but it was saved by the keeper; and Jonatan Maidana lost his chance on a rebound.

In the penalty shootout, Patronato won 4-3: River’s scorers were Quintero, Borja, and Barco (Zuculini and Suarez missed their shots). River’s next match is on Sunday, against Argentinos Juniors, as part of the Professional League.