River Plate’s 3-0 first leg defeat to Jorge Wilstermann in Cochabamba last week was supposed to present an almost insurmountable challenge for Marcelo Gallardo’s Copa Libertadores hopefuls. However, it took less than 20 minutes in the Monumental for Nacho Scocco to fire a hat-trick and cancel out any advantage the Bolivians had before Los Millonarios inflicted an embarrassing 8-0 thrashing for a place in the semi finals.
Those inside a soaking Monumental had the belief a miracle could happen and Gallardo’s attacking 3-4-3 line-up indicated River would throw everything at Jorge Wilstermann – the question was could the Bolivian side keep them out.
River had already gone close when in the eighth minute a long Leonardo Ponzio pass disected the two static central defenders, allowing Scocco to run clear, round goalkeerper Raúl Olivares and slot in the opener.
If River already had the self-belief it was possible, the early goal only boosted that and Jorge Wilstermann’s already shakey looking defence imploded.
Five minutes later and Scocco blasted his second inside Olivares’ near post and soon after River were level in the tie when the former Sunderland striker’s low cross eluded everyone in the box and snuck in at the back post.
— River Plate (@CARPoficial) September 22, 2017
By the time Scocco slipped in Enzo Pérez for the fourth before half time it was clear that the tie was already over.
46 seconds into the second half and Scocco tapped in his fourth, Nacho Fernández rifled in a sixth and then Scocco bundled in number seven when Olivares fumbled a ball from a corner.
River would have met stronger opposition from cones on the training ground and the question was only how many could Los Millonarios still score in the final half an hour.
The answer was one as Pérez ran from the edge of his penalty area, slicing through the absent Jorge Wilstermann back line to clip in River’s eighth and complete the rout.
Another great night at the Monumental under the brilliant Marcelo Gallardo but far greater tests lie ahead. Lanús are up next for River in the semi finals and goals will certainly be harder to come by.