At the sixth time of asking an Argentine club won in this year’s Copa Libertadores as River Plate left a rain-soaked Colombia with three points after a 3-1 win over Independiente Medellín.
Torrential rain meant there was some doubt over whether the Group Three match would go ahead and when the referee suspended play after 26 minutes, Marcelo Gallardo justifiably questioned why they had even begun.
Almost an hour later, the rain stopped and the officials decided the pitch was playable.
Whether or not the pitch was good enough or not, it certainly played a role in River’s opener barely a minute after the restart. Lucas Alario chased onto a through ball and both he and Andrés Mosquera appeared to be caught out by the ball suddenly stopping in a patch of water. The two collided, Alario tumbled into the penalty area and Wilton Pereira pointed to the spot.
The home side were furious but Alario shook himself off and stuck River ahead.
Moments later and Gallardo’s side doubled their advantage after David González failed to claim a free kick into the box and the loose ball fell to Sebastián Driussi to poke in a simple second.
River were well on course for an opening Libertadores victory in testing conditions and when the impressive Lucas Martínez Quarta volleyed his first goal for the club, the result was all but confirmed.
Juan Quintero did manage a consolation for the home side after Augusto Batalla had conceded a penalty but the three points were in the bag for River.
Melgar beat Emelec in the group’s other game and the Peruvians visit the Monumental next.
Independiente Medellín 1 – 3 River Plate