River Wins Home Opener Against Central
Despite the last minute change in the line up that affected Coach Simeone’s strategy, River came out victorious in the home opener against Rosario Central. Radamel Falcao, one the biggest stars on the team, was forced to watch the game on the sideline. With this incident, Coach Simeone was forced to start Gustavo Bou along with Mauro Rosales and Santiago Salcedo.
As the first half commenced, River’s squad was clearly dominating the match. Each player seemed keen on possessing the ball and they were all careful in not creating any turnovers. River’s Ferrari seemed to play as free as he could and was able to create excellent passes to his teammates. A close shot past the right bar by Tuzzio warned Rosario Central’s team River was serious about scoring early. Unfortunately, the system of play gradually ceased at after the initial fifteen minutes, the game slowed down. Both sides tried to find openings to create some chances but nothing was concrete. Towards the end of the half, Gustavo Bou and Mauro Rosales had a chance to score but nothing happened. The fans started to grow impatient and suddenly chants calling for Ariel Ortega could be heard echoing the Monumental Stadium.
With two substitutions by River, Robert Flores and Andres Rios entered the match. Coach Simeone instructed these two players to cover their areas aggressively and it seems like they took his words in action as Flores had the clearest situation of goal but clearly missed his chance to become the hero of the match like the week before. Andres Rios, replacing Gustavo Bou, added some needed energy into the forwards. Once again, River started the match strong but quickly gave possession to Rosario Central. The “canallas” dominated the pitch but hardly created any chances to score. Despite this problem, River was able to surprise the whole stadium as Tuzzio scored off a header that many thought was caught right at the line by Rosario’s goalkeeper. This uplifted the team’s spirit and a few minutes later, Andres Rios added the second goal off a beautiful curved shot outside the box area.
As the game came to its end, the fans responded with a sense of relief with chants supporting the Millonarios. Although the game was won, River cannot afford to play at this level with important matches ahead. The team won but did not convince the crowd. River next match is against Banfield in south Buenos Aires on the 24th of August.