Even with just Eder Álvarez Balanta missing, River Plate were a little short defensively so when Marcelo Gallardo was robbed of Jonathan Maidana, Gabriel Mercado and Leonel Vangioni through injury for the trip to Colón, it always looked like a difficult evening. Alan Ruiz made sure of that with a hat-trick and in a six-minute spell after half time, the home side ruthlessly exposed River’s frailties.
River had actually taken a 21st minute lead when Emanuel Mammana volleyed in like a centre forward but it was a fleeting moment of joy for the visitors. Naively allowing Ruiz time and space on his left foot just outside the box, the 22-year-old rifled the ball past Marcelo Barovero for a swift equaliser and although it remained that way until the break, the second half was an unmitigated disaster for Marcelo Gallardo.
Mauricio Sperduti poked El Sabalero in front in the 53rd minute and a minute later River saw Nacho Fernández sent off for a second yellow card. It continued to get worse for Los Millonarios when Ruiz was left free to run clear and clip the ball past Barovero and to compile their misery further, the River goalkeeper then cleared the ball against Ruiz for the youngster to complete his inadvertant hat-trick.
Colón had Adrián Bastía red carded late on but the match was well and truly over, ending a difficult run of results for the home side and providing the Cementerio de Los Elefantes with a new victim. River’s injuries were always going to make this a tough game but with just two league wins in 2016 and down in tenth place, Gallardo needs to turn it around fast.
Aldosivi came within a minute of ending their run of three games without a win but Atlético Tucumán bounced back from their thrashing against Tigre to salvage a point. Sebastián Penco gave El Tiburón the lead on thr stroke of half time after fine work down the left from Santiago Rosales. Despite having Jonathan Galván sent off with around fifteen minutes remaining, the visitors appeared to have held on but in the final minute of normal time, Cristian Menéndez clipped the ball beyond Pablo Campodónico and earned the home side a valuable point.