In order to recover from the setback in the debut against Banfield, Marcelo Gallardo’s team needed to win against Rosario Central, which had just beaten Godoy Cruz, to get in a comfortable position within the group. It approached the game with that mindset from the very beginning and tried to set the pace of the game.
Nicolás De La Cruz had the first chance, the best one in the first half, with free kick which was deflected by the goalkeeper Josué Ayala. Then, Rosario Central responded with a high shot by Lucas Gamba. The Uruguayan player intercepted a pass in the middle, escaped from the rival defense and skillfully scored to open the scoring at the Libertadores de América stadium. El Millionario almost scored the second goal, after a good play which culminated in a center shot behind Gonzalo Montiel.
Franco Armani reacted stupendously to an approach by Gamba and, close to the end, De La Cruz almost scored an amazing goal off a corner kick, but his left-footed shot was deflected.
Armani outdid himself again at the very beginning of the second half in another one-on-one with Emiliano Vecchio and then against a shot by Rodrigo Villagra from afar. Then, River got comfortable and had chances to widen the lead: a long shot from De La Cruz to Julián Álvarez, a right-footed shot by Lucas Pratto which was blocked by Ayala and a sprint by Montiel (which led to Joaquín Laso being sent off).
Fabrizio Angileri, who had entered a few minutes before, challenged Central’s goalkeeper with a low free kick on the left goalpost. When Jorge Carrascal entered, the midfield dynamic changed, and the second goal was scored. After a good play by the Colombian player, enabling Matías Suárez, player no. 7 circumvented the goalkeeper and fired a shot; after a rebound, the ball was served to Pratto on a silver platter at the goal line.
Towards the end, River almost scored the third goal in two clear situations brought about by Carrascal: in one of them, the goalkeeper prevented him from celebrating. In the next one, after a wonderful collective play, Diego Novaretti stole his thunder at the goal line. Central scored by means of a penalty kick by Vecchio in the last chance to score of the match. Thus, el Millionario had its first victory and got to a comfortable position within the LPF Cup group.