River Plate were able to name a much stronger starting lineup than had been suggested in the week after nine members of the first team squad were struck with gastroentiritis but their luck didn’t extend far. A controversial penalty decision handed victory to Patronato in Paraná and left Marcelo Gallardo’s side languishing down in eleventh.
River’s Transición is already over and after injury and illness robbed Gallardo of over half his squad in the week and then a storm prevented them flying until the day of the game, the Copa Libertadores winning coach must have been wondering what else could happen.
Against Patronato, Gallardo found out after 25 minutes when Mauro Vigliano judged Gabriel Mercado to have fouled Abel Masuero at a corner and gifted the home side a penalty. Sebastián Bértoli slammed home the spot kick but the lead lasted only ten minutes. Rodrigo Mora was left alone at the near post when a corner from the right was swung in and the Uruguayan was able to volley the ball on the turn past a rightly fuming Bértoli.
Patronato remained a threat and on the hour mark scored the decisive goal. Mauricio Carrasco’s powerful close range volley was too much for young Agusto Batalla to handle and somehow the ball bobbled past the Argentina under-20 international and into the net.
River could well be 11 points off the lead by the end of the weekend and with only seven games remaining, they can now focus entirely on the Libertadores.
Earlier in the Estadio Florencio Sola, Banfield came from behind to claim a fifth draw of the season thanks to Carlos Matheu’s late first half header. Pablo Ledesma had rifled the Colón into an early lead as El Sabalero looked to bounce back from their humiliating clásico defeat but could not hold on for a only a second win in six. Banfield welcomed Julio César Falcioni back to the dugout but it may take a little longer for El Taladro to notice any real change.