River Returns Home with a Win
After two weeks of battling teams as the visiting squad, River came back home to the Monumental Stadium in hopes of defeating the surprise team of the tournament, Arsenal. With a strong crowd at the stadium, the expectation for a victory was extremely high. Arsenal, on the other hand, was determined to keep their top spot in the standings and ruin River’s trip back home. Fortunately, victory was on River’s side and Rogelio Funes Mori’s goal in the second half catapulted the squad back to first place. Coach Angel Cappa regarded this match as “…River’s best game thus far.”
Right from the start, River was aware the early possession would be the key in maintaining a strong attack. As the match got into its first few minutes, harsh struggles on both sides created a very tense atmosphere on the pitch. Matias Almeyda, a pillar in the midfield, was keen in avoiding mistakes from his section. It was precisely in this area that both squads took great attention to. On the defensive side, Jonathan Maidana returned back to the starting line-up after recovering from injury, and along with Arano, Ferrari, and Ferrero, the defensive line became firm. During this first half, a few clear chances to score became available but only the ‘last touch’ was needed to finalize the play. Ariel Ortega was brilliant; creating plays and scoring chances for his teammates, as always. Time would run out in the first half, and a much-needed pep talk from Coach Cappa reinforced River in the following 45 minutes.
Slowly, River was making a presence in Arsenal’s goal area in the second half. Nothing was concrete until the latter part of the half. At the 74th minute, River was awarded a corner kick after heavily attacking Arsenal from the right side. A perfect corner kick from Ariel Ortega allowed Rogelio Funes Mori to gracefully head the ball in past Arsenal’s goalkeeper. The Monumental Stadium erupted with cheer and applause at the sight of the players’ celebrations, and the notion of victory was becoming a reality. A few minutes before the end of the match, Arsenal decided that pushing and shoving would be their only way to distract River. As a result, they managed to get one their players and River’s Roberto Pereyra ejected from the match after an altercation but the match quickly ended in River’s favor. Now tied in first place with Estudiantes de la Plata and Velez Sarsfield, River escaped from a direct relegation spot and is a leader in the 2010 Apertura Tournament.