With those around them winning, Independiente knew that this clasico was more ‘must win’ than ever before. With 3 games to go and their own fate not in their hands they desperately needed to close the gap with the teams just above them but after today’s defeat they now know that if Argentinos Juniors can get a result against San Lorenzo tomorrow they will be relegated. One of the giants of Argentinian football and the only team other than Boca not to have played outside the top flight it is a catastrophic blow. If it weren’t for Independiente’s fans, who made their anger obvious by breaking parts of the Estadio Monumental, it would be have been difficult to know the significance of this game. At times Independiente’s play lacked the urgency that the situation required and sadly they now need a miracle to avoid the dreaded drop. With 2 games remaining against San Lorenzo and Colon, the situation is clear: Win both and hope that Argentinos Juniors fail to pick up 2 points from their remaining 3 games and San Martin fail to get 3 points from 2. FOR MATCH REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS READ MORE…..
Whenever River Plate face Independiente it is a big deal but the magnitude of today’s game meant that it was even greater. For River it was the chance to join Newell’s Old Boys at the top of the table and for Independiente, perhaps a last chance to save themselves from the drop. Perhaps the occasion was the reason for what was a rather tepid opening quarter with neither side able to keep hold of the ball and fashion a meaningful chance.
It wasn’t until the 19th minute that Independiente created a chance that Hernan Fredes, may have done better with. He escaped his marker inside the River penalty area to get his head on a cross from the left but could only place it straight into the arms of the grateful, Marcelo Barovero. Two minutes later River led in slightly fortuitous circumstance. An unintended series of ricochets between Manuel Lanzini and Funes Mori fell perfectly for Juan Manuel Iturbe to steer the ball past Diego Rodriguez. River were now in control but half time came and the score remained at just one.
The second half started and when you would expect Independiente to come out all guns blazing in a bid to claw themselves back they continued to play in a somewhat wayward manner. And so it was no surprise when Iturbe broke free down the right and his cut back found Manuel Lanzini who side footed the ball confidently into the top corner. The celebrations for the River fans was overshadowed by the rage exhibited by their Independiente counterparts. They promptly began to tear apart sections of the away end and throw them to the lower sections housing the home fans. For a few minutes, it looked as though it could have got out of hand as they cut open the fencing and climbed out onto the roof of the first tier but thankfully the game continued.
It wasn’t until the 89th minute that Independiente got a goal back when captain, Daniel Montenegro fired in from range. A fine goal that was lost in the context of the game and proved only to be a pitiful consolation in what will probably be the final nail in the coffin.