One only needed to cast an eye over the River Plate starting eleven to know that priority is with the Copa Libertadores semi final next week but Marcelo Gallardo’s side haven’t gone 32 games unbeaten, a club record run that goes back to February, without being able to rotate and grind out points. That, however, came to an end on Friday evening in Santa Fe as Colón inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Millonarios.
Gonzalo Bueno’s scrappy goal fifteen minutes from time sealed the points and came during a second half in which an improved River were on top. Gallardo had introduced Rafael Santos Borré and Exequiel Palacios after the break and only goalkeeper Leonardo Burián, the crossbar and a correctly raised offside flag had denied River taking the lead.
Bueno’s tap-in came against the run of the play when a poorly defended corner saw Colón hit the post and leave the Uruguayan free for a simple finish but it should be noted that the home side had rattled the River frame twice during the first half.
Tomás Chancalay and Javier Correa both had Germán Lux beaten only for the ball to rebound back off the upright and River were fortunate to go into the break level.
Defeat brings to an end River’s incredible unbeaten streak and now Gallardo must hope that Franco Armani, Gonzalo Martínez and Juan Fernando Quintero are all back and available for next week’s Libertadores semi final against Grêmio.
Colón 1 – 0 River Plate
Defensa y Justicia’s unbeaten run might not be anywhere near the level of River’s but Sebastián Beccacece’s side are yet to suffer defeat in the Superliga this season and ahead of their Copa Sudamericana quarter final, El Halcón secured a 2-0 win over Talleres.
Juan Pablo Vojvoda departed Florencio Varela at the end of last season to move to Talleres and it was an unhappy return for the 43-year-old.
Matías Rojas curled in a long range free kick after only six minutes and shortly after Nicolás Fernández slipped in Gastón Togni for the Independiente loanee to emphatically finish past Guido Herrera.
Talleres rarely looked like getting back into the game and those early goals were enough to give Defensa the points. Victory lifts El Halcón into fourth and with their game in-hand, Beccacece’s boys could actually go second, only two points behind Racing.
Defensa y Justicia 2 – 0 Talleres
And in Liniers, Vélez Sarsfield’s 1-0 win over Gimnasia did little to illustrate just how superior Gabriel Heinze’s side were to their relegation threatened visitors.
Without their suspended talisman Matías Vargas, it was unclear how much of an offensive threat Vélez would pose but dominant from the outset, the home side should have been ahead much before Jonathan Ramis’ eventual opener.
The well travelled Uruguayan fired low past Alexis Arias just after the hour mark and when Gonzalo Piovi was shown a second yellow card shortly after, Gimnasia’s slim hopes took another hit.
Gastón Díaz had already smacked the woodwork, Jan Carlos Hurtado had cleared off the line and when a marginal offside decision ruled out another and Guido Mainero missed an open goal, the only surprise was that Vélez weren’t able to add more.