After paying a heartfelt tribute to Diego Maradona, River began playing a special match focused on winning to secure its qualification for the next stage of the cup which is now named after the former captain of Argentina’s National Football Team. El Millionario gave the first warning, with an exquisite long pass by Leonardo Ponzio and a deflected shot by Lucas Pratto, after a great ball control.
In the next plays, Enrique Bologna was resolute once again: first, he blocked a shot from the center of the box and, then, out of reflex and location, he blocked with his body a point-blank header by Diego Novaretti. In a disputed match, Bruno Zuculini almost opened the scoring, but Marcelo Miño saved his header. Out of a corner kick, after a header by Pratto and a rebound, Robert Rojas celebrated once again and scored the first goal for el Más Grande.
River had some opportunities to widen the lead, with shots by Nicolás De La Cruz, Pratto and Federico Girotti, even though the rival goalkeeper responded to each one of those plays. Central was also close to reaching a tie, but Bologna responded again to a free kick by Lucas Gamba.
El Millonario was determined to score the second goal. It gave a warning by means of an overlapping run by Álvarez on the left, but the center shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Then, Bologna responded to a shot from outside the box and, in the next play, after a center pass from the left, Damián Martínez headed an own goal and set the score at 2-0, facing pressure from Bruno Zuculini.
Álvarez, who was very shifty, was the protagonist of two other plays: in the first one, he fired a shot directly in front of the goal, which Miño saved; in the second one, after an assist by Rafael Borré, he couldn’t get comfortable to play one-on-one with the rival goalkeeper.
River controlled the match very well: it went for the third goal and it was alert and well-organized in the last line, it didn’t face major problems, and it made its presence felt in Rosario. Having secured the qualification, River Plate will close the group stage playing against Godoy Cruz next weekend.