Champions River thwarted by Independiente del Valle as Gallardo’s side are dumped from Libertadores (VIDEO)

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Even after suffering a two-goal defeat in Quito, Copa Libertadores champions River Plate were expected to reverse the deficit and progress past Independiente del Valle when the sides met back at sea level in the Monumental.

Despite dominating possession and peppering the Independiente goal for almost the entire 90 minutes, River’s lack of cutting edge once more came back to haunt them in what has been a disappointing period since lifting the trophy back in August.

Goalkeeper Librado Azcona produced an inspired performance to deny River on countless occasions and when the man of the match was beaten, the frame of the goal twice thwarted River. Lucas Alario headed against the crossbar before Andrés D’Alessandro rattled the woodwork but even as time ran down and the home side were suffering, there was still a sense that River could perform another Libertadores miracle.

When Lucas Alario eventually bundled a goal back with over ten minutes remaining, it looked even more likely that River would at least force penalties but the goal never came.

River’s defence came to an end and despite an enormous effort, the lack of someone like Fernando Cavenaghi or Teo Gutiérrez in attack, as the side that lifted the trophy had, proved costly. Independiente del Valle celebrated a famous victory and the Ecuadorian side now go on to face Pumas of México.

River Plate  1 – 0  Independiente del Valle (AGG 1 – 2)

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