The match began poorly for "los Millonarios". Just after 15 minutes after the initial whistle blew, Salvador Cabañas scored and gave the Mexican side the partial victory. River were trying, but weren't showing much besides a few shots here and there (two hit the post). Fortunately, Falcao was able to put the ball through the net, and therefore equalize the match.
The first 45 minutes ended, and 1-1 was a fair result. Both teams had their chances to be up, but neither was able to stick out more than the other, and thus were not able to find many advantages.
The second half was pretty much one-sided. Diego Simeone opted to play an offensive scheme, bringing in Alexis Sanchez for Paulo Ferrari and Diego Buonanotte for Matias Abelairas. This left the team with only three defenders, one defensive midfielder, and 6 very offensive players (Ortega, Falcao, A. Sanchez, Abreu, Buonanotte, and A. Fernandez). Luckily enough, America did not take advantage of the situation and went out with a more conservative style of play. This allowed River to easily recuperate the ball and continue attacking. As time passed, Armando Navarrete (goalkeeper for the "Aguilas") slowly began transforming himself into the player of the game with his endless saves. To make things worse, Falcao was expelled in the 89th minute due to getting in a small fight with a rival player. Everything indicated that the match would end as a draw, especially without the prescence of our key foward, but Ariel Ortega found the ball inside the box in injury time and efficiently put it past Navarette.
The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: A few good saves in the first half and not much to do in the second. Overall, another good game for the keeper.
Paulo Ferrari: Didn't show much while on the pitch. Correctly substituted in the second half.
Gustavo Cabral: The ex-Racing player didn't play as well as he had on Sunday vs. San Lorenzo, but he had a decent game nonetheless. Either way, there's always room for improvement.
Eduardo Tuzzio: His error led to America's goal. After that he improved a bit. I may not seem to mad at him since we won, but if we had lost the game he would have been my main target.
Cristian Villagra: Just like Cabral, Villagra failed to repeat Sunday's performance. At times he would go up to attack and leave the left part of the defense way too open. Was Sunday's game just a one-time thing?
Augusto Fernandez: The right-winger has yet to duplicate last season's form. He did well at times (centered the ball in our first goal), though he still hasn't been all that convincing in the last few games.
Oscar Ahumada: Great game for the defensive midfielder. Ahumada was left with the tough task of controlling the defensive duties of a very offensive team in the second half. He did it by himself and in a convincing manner. Positive performance.
Matias Abelairas: "Pitu" was never able to get himself going, and his substitution eventually brought a better River to the pitch. Based on his season so far, though, he still deserves a spot on the starting squad.
Ariel Ortega: Despite starting the game a bit slow, Ortega improved as time progressed. It wasn't his best game, yet he managed to do a few good things. Most importantly, he scored the winning goal in the 92nd minute of the match.
Radamel Falcao Garcia: An essential player to the team. His contributions and efforts are priceless, and his goal once again helped the team raise it's confidence. Towards the end of the match he was expelled in an unnecessary fight and will be missing the next two games vs. Universidad Catolica.
Sebastian Abreu: Besides assisting Falcao in a great manner in the first goal, the Uruguayan did not do much and has yet to improve. Will he ever debut his goalscoring skills with River's jersey?
The Substitutes -
Alexis Sanchez: The Chilean entered during half time to replace Paulo Ferrari and completely changed the face of the game by adding flare to the attack. I am also impressed by his effort in returning to recuperate the ball, something most players of his caliber do not usually do.
Diego Buonanotte: Another key player in the win. Other than assisting Ortega in the second goal, he constantly attacked and posed a serious threat to America. This is not the first time he enters the field and plays very well, so if he doesn't begin starting anytime soon he will definitely be a super-sub for the squad.
With this win, River have managed to reach the first place spot in the group, which we are currently sharing with the other three teams (all four have 3 points). Our next Libertadores game will be in Chile against Universidad Catolica, but we must first worry about our Clausura matches vs. San Martin (SJ) and Estudiantes. Vamos River!