River boss Marcelo Gallardo must be wondering where his so solid defence of last year has gone after another score draw in the league and while the frustration is obvious, for the neutral it is great news. Once again, River’s backline was a shambles and it allowed Arsenal to race into a 3-1 half time lead but the once maligned Rodrigo Mora struck twice after the break to earn a hard fought point.
Arsenal took the lead after just nine minutes when the under-fire Ramiro Funes Mori was caught in possession, albeit perhaps illegally so, allowing the home side to break quickly and Ramiro Carrera to slot in the opener. After a shakey couple of weeks it was the worst possible start for River and Arsenal sensed their vulnerability throughout the first half.
However, the lead itself lasted just a minute when the impressive Gonzalo Martínez plucked the ball out of the sky wide on the left, cut inside beating two defenders before stroking the ball under Esteban Andrada for a sensational equaliser.
Germán Pezzella and Funes Mori in the heart of the River defence continued to look suspect and it did not take too long for Arsenal to reestablish their lead. Damián Pérez appeared to have been stalled by Mercado and Pezzella but twisted back onto his left foot and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
River were reeling and on the stroke of half time they were hit on the break again. Carrera ran at Pezzella and found a way round the young centre back far too easily and as goalkeeper, Julio Chiarini and Funes Mori closed in he slipped the ball into the net.
Gallardo needed a response after a string of disappointments both in the league and the Copa Libertadores and after ten minutes he got that. Rodrigo Mora latched onto a ball over the top and expertly brought the ball under control before delicately lofting the ball over the head of Andrada.
River’s desire to overturn the scoreline was obvious but in spite of the attacking changes made by Gallardo they were unable to breakdown Arsenal. With minutes remaining they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the penalty area and Mora struck the equaliser. It may have been the corner that Andrada was covering but it was struck with two much venom and too much dip for the keeper.
In the context of the match it was a good point for River but the disappointment etched on the face of Marcelo Gallardo was obvious. River are yet to keep a cleansheet this season and for a third time a match that they have conceded two or more has resulted in a draw.
Arsenal 3 – 3 River Plate