Ahead of this weekend’s Superclásico and with qualification to the Copa Libertadores last 16 already virtually secured, Marcelo Gallardo opted to field a second-string River Plate eleven for the visit of Emelec to the Monumental and it was enough to earn the point required.
River barely needed to get out of second gear and having come into the match with a 100% record, were on the brink of the next round regardless of the result against Emelec.
However, when Eduar Preciado scrappily put the visitors in front on the hour mark, River’s intent noticeably increased.
The lethal duo of Sebastián Driussi and Lucas Alario were introduced but neither had a hand in the equaliser that followed immediately. Carlos Auzqui was tripped in the box and Rodrigo Mora stepped up to send Esteban Dreer the wrong way.
With two matches remaining, the point was enough to guarantee River a place in the last 16 and victory away to Melgar next week would confirm top spot. All eyes now however fix firmly on Sunday’s clash in La Bombonera.