After an opening three rounds of few goals and little drama, River Plate’s visit to Florencio Varela on Sunday night more than made amends, as Defensa y Justicia twice came from behind to salvage a point in an exhilarating, fast-paced match that is rarely seen in the Argentine Primera.
River were in Copa Argentina action on Thursday evening and perhaps still fatigued from their efforts it appeared Ariel Holán’s instructions to his players was to get at the visitors early. El Halcón’s quick start was rewarded when Jonathan Maidana lunged into a tackle on Agustín Bouzat and allowed Boca Juniors youth product Tomás Pochettino to slot in the opener from the penalty spot.
It was just the start the game needed and from that moment the two teams traded punches as the game went back and forth.
River were level in no time thanks to Mariano Bareiro’s horribly misjudged attempt to cut out a cross from the left which ended up flying into his own net and ten minutes later were in front.
Sebastián Driussi is taking full advantage of his extended spell in the first team and when the home defence failed to adequately clear Milton Casco’s cross, the 20-year-old rifled the ball into the bottom corner.
However, despite not yet claiming a win this season the confidence of the home side was not knocked in the slightest and their impressive young defender Alexander Barboza rose to head them level after half an hour.
The goals slowed but the chances continued at both ends and either side could conceivably have scored four or five.
It was little surprise around the hour mark when River did finally add a third through Driussi again and many would have thought that it would be enough for all three points but Holán’s side came again snatching an equaliser through Andrés Ríos eight minutes from time.
River had Gonzalo Martínez sent off late on for an off the ball elbow but Defensa y Justicia didn’t have time to take advantage.
Defensa y Justicia 3 – 3 River Plate