The champion had a strong presence in Paraguay and became a semi-finalist River Plate honoured the 2-0 score of the first leg: it evened the score 1-1 in Asunción thanks to a tremendous goal by Nicolás De La Cruz and qualified for this stage of the CONMEBOL Libertadores once more.

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Before the one-minute mark, River had a good chance, after a good collective play and a self-pass by Matías Suárez, who was about to have a one-on-one against Juan Pablo Carrizo, but the rival goalkeeper was quicker and left the goal in time to clear the threat. El Millionario was not in distress, but the first time Cerro Porteño got close to the area, Nelson Haedo Valdez cross headed a centre pass from Joaquín Larrivey and scored the first goal.

Marcelo Gallardo’s team didn’t mess up and tried to even the score, to bring some calm into the series: Rafael Borré kicked the ball but it was met with a good response by Carrizo on the right goalpost. In another attempt, from the left, Nacho Fernández gave a centering pass which passed the Colombian forward by at the second goalpost.

In another attempt to score by the local team, after the rebound in a second play, Franco Armani did a marvellous job blocking Federico Carrizo’s second goal. Regarding the refereeing, through VAR, the referee Julio Bascuñán only penalized Haedo Valdez after a studs-up tackle against Exequiel Palacios, when he should have expelled him.

In the second half, River was determined to score and after a few attempts by Palacios and De La Cruz, relief set in: a great long pass to Suárez, who controlled and defined it against Carrizo’s move, the goalkeeper blocked it and De La Cruz caught the rebound, after reaching the ball, and scored a spectacular right-footed shot, setting the score 1-1, which practically ensured River’s qualification.

From that moment on, River controlled the match, there weren’t any threats and they could have even scored another goal in situations brought about by Lucas Martínez Quarta, Lucas Pratto and Ignacio Scocco. Now, the champion of the Americas will face Boca Juniors in the semi-finals (the first leg at the Monumental Stadium and the second leg as the away team). Therefore, on Sunday, this Superclásico edition for the Superleague will take place at home.

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