River Plate sank to the last position in Group D of the Copa Libertadores after drawing 1-1 against Sporting Cristal on Thursday, in an area where The Strongest defeated Fluminense 1-0.
With two dates to play in the group stage, the “millionaire” team closes the standings with four points, the same as Cristal, but with a worse goal difference. The Strongest climbed to second place with six units, three less than the Fluminense leader.
Despite dominating almost the entire match, River was barely able to salvage an equalizer at minute 83 with a goal from Rodrigo Aliendro.
Things had gotten complicated for the Argentine team after 62 minutes, when the international Yoshimar Yotún took advantage of a bad clearance from goalkeeper Franco Armani to open the scoring with a powerful left foot.
“We tried to be protagonists to win this game. We generated a large number of goal situations, but unfortunately due to an unfortunate play we ended up complicating ourselves”, said the River coach, Martín Demichelis. “It’s a shame not to have been able to give the club a win on its 122nd birthday.”
River had the opportunity to respond at 76 when a grab inside the area by defender Rafael Lutiger on Ignacio Fernández was punished – after the VAR review – with a maximum penalty and expulsion for a second yellow card.
However, Peruvian goalkeeper Renato Solís saved Miguel Ángel Borja’s shot and kept the hosts ahead.
River turned to attack in the final stretch of the match and managed to equalize seven minutes from the end through Aliendro, who coldly finished off a ball that José Paradela gave him in the area.
Armani, who was responsible for Cristal’s goal, redeemed himself in stoppage time by slightly deflecting a cross shot from Joao Grimaldo that ultimately hit the post.
The day had started crookedly for River with the victory by the minimum of The Strongest in La Paz against a Fluminense that reserved its starters and arranged an alternative team.
The Bolivians quickly took the lead with Enrique Triverio’s goal after four minutes.
Fluminense, who suffered his first loss in this tournament, had interventions from his goalkeeper Fabio to avoid a heavier defeat.
NATIONAL ATHLETIC, FIRST CLASSIFIED
Olimpia’s 2-0 victory over Patronato in Santa Fe was also celebrated in Medellinsince it allowed Atlético Nacional to become the first team to get a ticket to the round of 16 of the Libertadores.
The Colombian team, which won 1-0 against Melgar on Wednesday and reached 10 points in Group H, became unattainable for Patronato and Melgar, who have three and one point, respectively.
Olimpia established itself in second position, with eight points, thanks to scores by Iván Torres and Diego Torres.
In the other match of the day, Internacional de Porto Alegre beat Metropolitanos 2-1 at home and remained the only leader in Group B.
The Brazilian team took the lead before half an hour with goals from Alan Patrick and Luiz Adriano. Freddy Vargas discounted in the complement for the Venezuelans.
Internacional reached eight points and surpasses Independiente Medellín and Nacional de Uruguaywith which he will settle the two classified to the next round.
The last dates of the group stage of the Libertadores will be played in the first and last weeks of June.