Goalkeeper Franco Armani might be closing in on the professional era record for not conceding and Juan Fernando Quintero might be as a tricky as ever but Marcelo Gallardo has cause for concern ahead of this week’s Copa Libertadores clash against Racing Club after his River Plate side were held to another goalless draw on Saturday evening.
Argentinos Juniors were the visitors to El Monumental and just like Belgrano the week before, the visitors frustrated and stifled River to claim a point. All four matches which Los Millonarios have played since returning from the winter break have ended in stalemates and Gallardo must find a way to inspire goals quickly.
River would take any kind of goal right now and in the opening exchanges against Argentinos Juniors, Ignacio Fernández felt he should have had two penalties. On both occasions Fernando Rapallini waved away his appeals and River’s wait was prolonged.
Always likely to simply play on the counter Argentinos Juniors were content to sit back and force River to break them down but the home side’s creativity, almost exclusively via the left boot of Juan Fernando Quintero, was too predictable.
One of the Colombians many outstanding set-piece deliveries was headed against the crossbar by Lucas Pratto early in the second half and this proved to be the main threat.
It could have been worse for River as Armani was beaten by Matías Romero’s low shot but before his record was broken Javier Pinola raced back to clear off the line.
Marcelo Gallardo threw on Rafael Santos Borré to add an extra forward and the Colombian almost won it when he got on the end of one of Quintero’s free kicks but Chavez was there to scramble the ball away.
Argentinos Juniors held on for a valuable away point but Marcelo Gallardo will be worried ahead of Wednesday. Struggling for goals, Leonardo Ponzio and Bruno Zuculini suspended and Gonzalo Martínez potentially injured after limping out of the latest draw, Los Millonarios face a critical week.
River Plate 0 – 0 Argentinos Juniors
Earlier Talleres got their campaign up and running after back-to-back defeats with a 2-0 win over Gimnasia in La Plata.
Pedro Troglio felt his side were a little hard done by in the opening 45 minutes as Talleres defender Miguel Araujo was guilty of pulling on the shirt of Santiago Silva in the penalty area, a reckless high boot for which he was booked and another clumsy challenge in the edge of the box on Matías Gómez that went unpunished.
After riding their luck somewhat Talleres improved after the break and led 20 minutes from time when Andrés Cubas fired in from close range.
Gimnasia, who have scored only once this season, couldn’t find a way level and in stoppage time Joel Soñora released fellow Talleres substitute Mauro Ortíz to add a second on the break.
Gimnasia 0 – 2 Talleres
And in Victoria, for the third consecutive time Tigre surrendered their lead to draw 2-2.
Cristian Ledesma’s side in the thick of the relegation battle have made an unbeaten start to the season but know that it could have been so much better as rivals San Martín became the latest side to punish Tigre’s defensive fragility.
Juan Cavallaro brilliantly curled Tigre ahead after 23 minutes but just as it did in Santa Fe last week, the lead didn’t last. Augusto Batalla flapped at a cross, the defence panicked and Martín Bravo was able to tap in a simple equaliser.
Diego Morales restored the lead minutes after the restart but it still wasn’t enough. Néstor Moiraghi had saved Tigre once with a goalline clearance but San Martín eventually pulled level ten minutes from time as Batalla parried a shot only for Diego Cardozo to fire in the rebound.
Both sides remain in the relegation zone and with a relatively short season, they can hardly afford to let points slip away.