Despite the narrow scoreline, River Plate were good value for the Copa Argentina last 16 victory against Arsenal and as is increasingly being the case Lucas Alario was the match winner. The 23-year-old is the subject of intense interest from Europe and after making his Argentina debut in the last World Cup qualifiers continues to enhance his reputation.
Thursday evening’s winner in San Juan will not rank as one of Alario’s best but his goal scoring instincts were sharp enough to pounce on an error by goalkeeper Fernando Pellegrino. Nacho Fernández’s cross from the left should have been a routine catch but the costly fumble allowed Alario to poke in the only goal of the game at the back post.
Marcelo Gallardo’s side should have perhaps made the victory more comfortable and missed a couple of excellent opportunities but importantly took their place in the quarter final, where a tie against Unión awaits.
River Plate 1 – 0 Arsenal