River Plate’s Superliga form may have taken steps in the right direction but Marcelo Gallardo’s side are still waiting for victory in this year’s Copa Libertadores after being held to a goalless draw by Independiente Santa Fe.
The Colombian side are not the most adventurous of opponents coming to El Monumental with a clear game plan to frustrate River and with Los Millonarios slipping back somewhat into the form that saw them struggle for creativity, the visitors were able to do that.
Enzo Pérez flashed a shot across the face of goal, Javier Pinola hit a dipping volley from distance but there were few clear chances against a side content to sit back and allow River on.
River improved slightly after the break when Gallardo introduced Ignacio Scocco and Juan Fernando Quintero but even when the Colombian created a chance for Lucas Pratto, Independiente Santa Fe scrambled the ball to safety.
Gonzalo Martínez chipped the ball over the bar with Robinson Zapata stranded and the goalkeeper was forced to save a Quintero free-kick but River never really cut open the visitors.
And it could have been worse late on when only a wonderful reflex stop by Franco Armani denied Independiente Santa Fe bundling the ball in at a corner.
Two draws now for River leaves Group D still very much open but there is a degree of pressure ahead of the trip to Emelec in two weeks.
River Plate 0 – 0 Independiente Santa Fe
Estudiantes’ hopes of progressing are also still in the balance after defeat to Santos in Quilmes.
Two of the Copa Libertadores greats were vying for top spot in Group F at the halfway point and thanks to Arthur’s first half goal, it is Santos with the advantage.
Estudiantes will certainly wonder how they didn’t take anything from the game after a host of missed chances that allowed Vanderlei to miraculously keep a clean sheet. In part through good goalkeeping but largely due to the woeful finishing of Estudiantes.
— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) April 6, 2018
El Pincha may feel even more aggrieved by the fact that there was more than a hint of offside about Arthur’s winner with the midfielder racing in to tap in the rebound after Eduardo Sasha’s finish had come back off the post.
Santos were also guilty of missing chances but during the second half, Estudiantes did more than enough to equalise and could live to regret not taking anything ahead of their trip to Brazil in three weeks.
Estudiantes 0 – 1 Santos