Marcelo Gallardo tasted defeat for the first time as River boss and their record equalling 31-match unbeaten streak came to end last night in the Monumental as Estudiantes claimed a narrow 1-0 win over the league leaders. Matters could have been much worse for River had Lanús picked up three points but their 45 minute match (after rain ended the initial fixture at half time) against Tigre resulted in a resounding 3-0 win for Fabián Alegre’s side.
Both matches were rearranged after the torrential rain in Buenos Aires had led to widespread cancellations in the weekend before last’s football, something which River could well have done without given their busy schedule.
And so it proved for Gallardo’s boys, who missing Teo Gutiérrez and Carlos Sanchez were unable to stage another comeback. A rare Marcelo Barovero blunder allowed Diego Vera to give the visitors an early lead and although River tried to force an equaliser they could not find a way past the organised Estudiantes defence.
Defeat was always going to happen eventually, particularly in light of River’s schedule and the test now for Gallardo and his squad is how they react to this.
Thankfully, River remain at the top of the table and were granted a reprieve as Lanús were soundly beaten by Tigre.
Leandro Granate eventually forced the ball past Agustín Marchesín after the ball bobbled around the six-yard box to give Tigre the lead and while the opener may have been a little scrappy, Gabriel Peñalba’s was anything but. His excellent curling effort from outside the box left Marchesín rooted and virtually ended the contest.
Just to be certain, Lucas Wilchez added a third in the 82nd minute and ensured that Tigre returned to winning ways after four matches without a win. This was an opportunity missed by Lanús but they will be grateful that it was not punished. They remain two points behind River with four matches still to play.