It would have been easy to get carried away after River Plate demolished Quilmes in their opening fixture and for Sunday’s visit to Belgrano were able to hand a second debut to returning star, Andrés D’Alessandro. Something of a grudge match ever since Belgrano defeated River and relegation them to the Nacional B, the home side were looking for their first points of the season while Marcelo Gallardo’s side sought to further illustrate that they were back after a poor end to 2015.
A lively opening with both sides creating chances was swung in favour of the home side after 12 minutes when Iván Etevenaux let rip from outside the penalty area and before Marcelo Barovero could even move, the ball was nestled in the top corner.
It was soon to get even better for Belgrano when Jorge Luis Velázquez took advantage of River’s makeshift back line to run clear and slot the ball past Barovero.
Nicolás Domingo rifled a goal back for River from 25 yards minutes later but Belgrano remained a constant threat and moments before the break Etevenaux added his second.
With the home side retreating and River much improved in the second half, it was almost all the visitors; Ricardo Zielinski’s side happy with a two-goal cushion to play on the break.
River’s recent signing, Iván Alonso notched his first for the club with a towering header to make it a little more uncomfortable for Belgrano but despite pushing hard for an equaliser, Los Celestes held on.
With Leonardo Ponzio playing in central defence after Eder Alvarez Balanta’s injury, River’s shortage at the back is clear and Gallardo must find a way of tightening up if they are to mount a challenge.