River and Gimnasia Standoff in La Plata
Following the win against Defensor Sporting on Thursday that advanced River to the next round of the Copa Nissan Sudamericana, it was time to visit Gimnasia in La Plata. Coming off the win, River’s goal was to gain some wins to better position itself in the standings although there is no chance in repeating a championship. Facing any team in their home turf is tough and Gimansia did an excellent job in showcasing their talent against the biggest club in Argentina. The game resulted in a 0-0 tie, with some parts being a bit boring,
Before the match, Gimnasia’s fans quickly started attacking Diego Simeone. For those that do not remember, he coached their archrival team Estudiantes. They had several songs and chants dedicated to him so the pressure was even thicker on our coach. The fist few minutes of the half were quite boring. Neither side looked solid nor did they scramble to find each other weaknesses. Slowly but surely, River began to reach further down the pitch. Diego Buonanotte had control of the offense and he became an important figure in making plays. His talent has been gradually picking up since the Olympics and it has been demonstrated week after week.
Since Radamel Falcao got injured, it has been a tough spot to fill. Mauro Rosales has been the main player in backing his spot and although he did not score against Gimnasia, he proved himself to be one of the hardest working players in the squad. Gimansia’s defense did an excellent job in controlling him but he worked his way around them a few times, creating some chances to score. His teammate on the front, Santiago Salcedo has also been doing his best despite his “drought of goals”. The only clear chance that River almost scored was by Santiago off a header.
The whole match quickly halted towards the last fifteen minutes of the match. The image on the scoreboard justified what was shown on the pitch. Unfortunately, River cannot come out of this shell that has prohibited it from reaching the top of the standings but, in a way, has pushed the team’s determination to win the Copa Nissan Sudamericana. River will be off for almost two weeks as the CONMEBOL will host the qualifiers for World Cup 2010 in which Argentina hosts Uruguay and then travels to Chile. The next scheduled game for River is against, the one, the only, Boca Juniors. Two weeks will be an eternity for the best derby in the world.