Julian Álvarez is River’s most dangerous card. Photo: REUTERS / Agustin Marcarian
The great auction of Zuculini that broke the parity
River Plate, leader of the Professional Football League (LPF), receives Argentinos Juniors for the 18th date with the intention of taking a new step towards consecration in the Argentine tournament, a pending objective in the successful cycle of Marcelo Gallardo. The match is played in a stadium Monumental overflowing with joy, with the arbitration of Patricio Loustau and transmission of Fox Sports Premium.
The first section of the meeting showed full control of the premises. Without Enzo Pérez (Bruno Zuculini played in his place), he maintained the high pressure, which allowed him to permanently steal the ball in the opposite field, despite the fact that the Bug tried to move it neatly and with good intentions. Thus, at 8 minutes, with a cross shot from Rollheiser, he had the first clear chance (Lanzillota blocked the goalkeeper), and then he prowled with attempts from outside the area with Álvarez and Palavecino.
El Bicho was suffocated, beyond the fact that he bet to fulfill Milito’s plan: inconvenience the start of the actions with the wear of his forwards, the two open steering wheels well attentive to the rise of the sides, and order with the lines together in the backward movement, not to give space to millionaire creativity. River didn’t let him. At 27 minutes, a Zuculini shoe hit the crossbar and stung inside the goal, to break the parity and break the visitor resistance.
The Millionaire He comes from an epic victory over his guard Talleres de Córdoba, whom he beat 2-0 on the road after playing outnumbered from the 7th minute due to the expulsion of the youthful defender Felipe Peña Biafore. The cast of Núñez gave a show of character with a superb performance, stretched their lead to seven points and prolonged the steady march towards the title that began on the sixth date when they prevailed over Vélez Sarsfield (2-0).
Since then, he has threaded ten victories – eight in a row in recent times – and two draws. Only Gimnasia in La Plata and Independiente in Núñez could take points away from a team in a state of grace after their elimination in the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores at the hands of Atlético Mineiro of Brazil.
River was able to reinvent itself after that blow under the undisputed leadership of Gallardo, who knew how to safeguard the team’s winning mentality and lucidly manage the resources of a squad without the figures of other seasons.
In this way, he dodged the difficulties that injuries and calls for national teams posed on each date for the assembly of the formation. The names varied but the performance never suffered and the positive results followed one after another.
In the prodigious streak, the convincing victory in the Superclásico against Boca (2-1) in the Monumental and the spectacular performance in Córdoba against Talleres (2-0), always with the exclusive figure of the forward of the Argentine national team Julián Álvarez, just 21 years old, one of the three top scorers in the LPF with 10 goals.
The agenda of Millionaire Until the end of the tournament, it contemplates today’s game with Argentinos and then Estudiantes (in La Plata), Patronato de Paraná (as a local), Platense (in Vicente López), Racing Club (in the Monumental), Rosario Central (as a visitor) , Defensa y Justicia (in Núñez) and Atlético Tucumán (in the north).
Curiously, the same closure of the 2019/2020 Super League, which River lost at the hands of Miguel Ángel Russo’s Boca after drawing at home with Florencio Varela’s “Halcón” and as a visitor with the “Dean” from Tucumán.
Gallardo recovers one of the usual headlines for this afternoon’s commitment: the Chilean central marker Paulo Díaz, after overcoming a discomfort in the right calf, enters through the suspended Peña Biafore. The surprise is in the absence of Fabrizio Angileri, who left behind a tear, but is not even on the substitute bench. So Milton Casco, who had played for that band in Córdoba, will remain there and Paraguayan Robert Rojas, scorer of a goal and protagonist of a great performance against Talleres, is located on the right. In the middle of the court there is also a change forced by the suspension of Enzo Pérez and Bruno Zuculini is the one who plays in his place.
Argentinos, semifinalist of the Argentine Cup, will try to add in his visit to Núñez to enter the South American Cup zone. In the annual table for 2021, the “Bug” is ranked tenth with 43 units, one less than Racing, which at the moment is positioned in the last qualifying place. The team led by Gabriel Milito arrives with confidence on the rise after their good victory against the last Argentine soccer champion, Colón de Santa Fe (3-1).
River and Argentinos played 129 times in AFA league tournaments in professionalism and the statistics are widely favorable for him Millionaire with 69 wins, 34 draws and 26 losses.
River Plate: Franco Armani, Robert Rojas, Paulo Díaz, David Martínez, Milton Casco; Bruno Zuculini, Agustín Palavecino, Enzo Fernández, Santiago Simón; Benjamin Rollheiser and Julián Álvarez. DT: Marcelo Gallardo.
Argentinos Juniors: Federico Lanzillota; Kevin MacAllister, Pablo Minissale, Lucas Villalba; Javier Cabrera, Gabriel Florentín, Franco Moyano, Enzo Kalinski, Elías Gómez; Gabriel Ávalos and Nicolás Reniero. DT: Gabriel Milito.
Referee: Patricio Loustau.
Stadium: River Plate.
TV: Fox Sports Premium.
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