Sarmiento played the role of spirited underdogs superbly but ultimately paid the price of being one of those teams that would never have been promoted to the Primera legitimately facing one of the best sides in South America. In spite of Marcelo Gallardo’s slight rotation, River had far too much for their hosts and goals from Carlos Sánchez, Fernando Cavanaghi and two from Teo Gutiérrez ensured an as expected, straight-forward start to the season.
Without doubt this match-up on the opening weekend highlighted the issue with promoting ten sides from the Nacional B more than any other. Marcelo Gallardo, obviously learning from his fatigue-striken outfit during the Transición decided to rotate from the off and gave new signing, Gonzalo Martínez the chance to shine in Leonardo Pisculichi’s absence.
21-year-old Martínez grabbed the chance with both hands and although Sarmiento gave a decent account of themselves in the opening fifteen minutes it was Martínez who laid on the opener. His clipped cross from the left found Carlos Sánchez and, as he does so often, the Uruguayan made no mistake in volleying the ball past César Rigamonti.
Minutes before the break the sweet left foot of the youngster once more disected the Sarmiento defence and this time Fernando Cavanaghi lurked to head in the second.
Sarmiento did manage to pull one back after the interval when Héctor Luis Cuevas escaped the attention of the River backline and beat Marcelo Barovero at his near post but it was a momentary reprieve. Teo Gutiérrez tapped in a rebound before the Colombian finished off a sweeping counter attack with just over five minutes remaining.
River did what was expected and almost undoubtedly come the end of the season they will be in the title mix. Such a fixture provides little insight into their true credentials but it did give a glimpse at why River coveted young Pity Martínez.