Much like Racing Club 24 hours earlier, River Plate were up against Brazilian opposition with qualification already secured in this year’s Copa Libertadores and only top spot in the group up for grabs. La Academia had to settle for second after defeat to Cruzeiro but River held on for a draw with Flamengo to maintain an unbeaten record and seal a place in the last 16 as group winners.
Played with a sense of purpose that comes from both sides knowing they already have places in the next round, there was little urgency in the Monumental on Wednesday but Marcelo Gallardo will still feel his side did enough to win it.
Ignacio Scocco snatched at two first half volleys but it was a game of few clear chances.
Jorge Sampaoli will have been praying that nothing happened to Franco Armani but the goalkeeper came through unscathed and in doing so has now conceded only once in his last eleven matches.
Armani may well be Argentina’s first choice goalkeeper in Russia and his form since arriving at River is a key reason why Gallardo’s side have improved so dramatically.