The expectation for River’s visit to Chaco was spectacular. El Millonario took less than four minutes to open the scoring against Defensa y Justicia: Nico De La Cruz recovered the ball, Juan Quintero made an exquisite assist to Pablo Solari, who struck a low shot celebrating a new goal wearing the River jersey. Running up the field, Rodrigo Aliendro almost widened the lead with a volley that bounced off a defender before reaching the goal.
Gallardo's team kept trying to score and Quintero almost surprised Ezequiel Unsain. River set up another great collective play, running quickly up field: Solari tapped the ball to Lucas Beltran who, in turn, tapped it to De La Cruz, whose shot narrowly missed the goal. Defensa y Justicia responded with a free kick that Nazareno Colombo failed to head. The opposing team had a clear chance at Manuel Duarte’s feet, with a shot from outside the box, and another one with a shot from the right-hand side saved by Andres Herrera and Franco Armani.
El Millonario tapped its way to the second goal: Milton Casco opened up a pass to De La Cruz, for him to struck a shot backward from the left-hand side to Beltran, who finally set the score at 2-0 with a left-footed shot. Before the end of the first half, Armani reacted brilliantly to save a header from Kevin Gutierrez and prevent a goal.
Right at the beginning of the second half, River was close to scoring the third goal but failed to take advantage of a defensive error: Unsain blocked both Solari’s and Quintero’s shots. The third goal was nonetheless scored quickly: a great pass from Beltran to Solari, who sent a perfect crossed shot into the goal, sealing the qualification for the quarterfinals. De La Cruz had another scoring chance, but the rival keeper made a save on his shot by the near post.
The rest was smooth, River had good ball control, and Ezequiel Centurion played very confidently, having replaced Armani after half-time. Toward the end, Solari celebrated his third goal, off a great pass from Enzo Perez. River will play against Patronato in the quarterfinals. In the meantime, on Sunday, the team will welcome Barracas Central at the Mâs Monumental Stadium for the Professional League.