In the final stage of its preparation for the Women’s CONMEBOL Libertadores, River traveled to Uruguay to play against Peñarol and returned to Buenos Aires smiling: after drawing at 4-4 in the 90 minutes, las Millonarias won 4-3 in the shootout and, for the second year in a row, became the champions of the Challenge Cup at the Campus de Maldonado stadium.
The home team had a forceful beginning and, in 10 minutes, took a 2-0 lead with goals by Lourdes Viana and Sofía Ramondegui. However, River reacted quickly and two minutes later reduced the deficit thanks to Victoria Costa, who got the ball in the box and fired a low right-footed shot off a corner kick.
River kept looking for the tie, brought about goal opportunities and, at the end of the first half, managed to turn things around thanks to the Uruguayan player Carolina Birizamberri, who shone in her home country: on the 38-minute mark, she gave the ball a light touch when Gómez, the goalkeeper, came off her line, and set the score at 2-2; then, in stoppage time, she got the ball in the box, did a feint, and fired a shot aimed at the far post directly into the corner of the goal, allowing River to take the lead before the half-time break.
With four substitutions on each side, the second half was as intense as the first and, after several penetrating runs by River, Peñarol was the one to score thanks to Stefanie Suárez. Las Millonarias kept attacking and reduced the deficit again thanks to a goal by Martina Del Trecco, a recent substitute, who, in a one-on-one, skillfully fired a left-footed shot when the goalkeeper was off her line. However, some more exciting things were yet to happen and, on the 30-minute mark, the score was set at 4-4 by Belén Aquino, one of the home team’s most destabilizing players of the match. From then onwards, there were no more changes to the result, but there was enough time for Sofía Domínguez’s dream to come true, when she replaced Agustina Vargas and, being only 15 years old, had her debut playing for River’s First Division.
During the penalty shootout, Florencia Chiribelo repeated the history of the 2020 Challenge Cup (when River beat Nacional in a shootout) and the recent Transition Tournament semifinal (against UAI Urquiza) and was, once again, key to the victory because she blocked Lourdes Viana’s penalty kick and turned the series around in River’s favor. Then, the effectiveness of Pereyra’s, Del Trecco’s, Moreno’s and Lezcano's penalty kicks sealed the victory of the team coached by Daniel Reyes.
Thus, River’s visit to Uruguay ended on a happy note, the team played a significant number of minutes against a possible CONMEBOL Libertadores rival and is now getting ready to work, focusing on the greatest South American tournament that will begin on March 5th.
Peñarol: Catia Gómez (65' Vanina Sburlati), Shirley Mederos (65' Adriana Salvagno), Sofía Ramondegui (45' Alexia Da Silva), Paula Viera (65' Inés Lupano), Lorena Graña (65' Denisse Dufau), Sasha Larrea (45' Jamina Rolfo), Agustina Arambulo (65' Camila Iriarte), Stefanie
Suárez, Pilar González (45' Ximena Velazco), Belén Aquino, Lourdes Viana. Substitutes: Florencia Vicente, Luisina Páez, Juana Vallejo, Valentina Ibarra. Coach: Felipe Rebollo.
River Plate: Brenda Molinas (45' Florencia Chiribelo), Stephanie Melgarejo, (45' Bettiana Sonetti), Giuliana González, Daniela Mereles, Laura Felipe (65' Rocio Montenegro), Agustina Vargas (65' Sofía Domínguez), Justina Morcillo (65' Melina Moreno), Victoria Costa (45' Lucía Martelli), Carolina Birizamberri (45' Martina Del Trecco), Mercedes Pereyra, Lourdes Lezcano. Coach: Daniel Reyes.
Goals: 4' Viana (P), 10' Ramondegui (P), 12' Costa (RP), 38' Birizamberri (RP), 45' Birizamberri (RP), 60' Suárez (P), 62' Del Trecco (RP), 75' Aquino (P).
Penalty kicks: Viana (P): saved by Chiribelo Pereyra (RP): goal Rolfo (P): goal Del Trecco (RP): goal Aquino (P): goal Sonetti (RP): post Pérez (P): deflected Moreno (RP): goal Velazco (P): goal Lezcano (RP): goal