Copa Libertadores: River Plate disappoint in draw with Palestino, San Lorenzo end winless run against Junior & Central suffer injury time blow in Chile (VIDEO)

It has been a less than auspicious start to the title defence for champions River Plate and in an empty Monumental on Wednesday evening, Marcelo Gallardo’s side were held to a goalless draw by Palestino. Only a last gasp Cristian Ferreira free-kick snatched River a point last week in Peru but there was no such heroics this time as a lacklustre display saw Nacho Fernández most culpable for squandering chances.

With Internacional chalking up a second straight win against Alianza Lima the Brazilians take an early lead in Group A so River’s trip to Porto Alegre in a couple of weeks will likely have huge implications over who will top the group.

Earlier in the Nuevo Gasómetro, San Lorenzo secured a first win in any competition since October and in doing so boosted their hopes in this year’s Copa Libertadores. Junior were the visitors to Bajo Flores but their task was made all the more difficult after Gabriel Fuentes was sent off within the opening half hour for an elbow on Damián Pérez.

Even with the numerical advantage San Lorenzo were hardly superior but following a brief power outage, Román Martínez snatched the points. The former Lanús midfielder drilling a low shot past Sebastián Viera to end El Ciclón’s torrid run and give under pressure Jorge Almirón his first win as coach. Palmeiras top Group F after back-to-back wins and it is the Brazilians next up for San Lorenzo.

However, it was less positive news for Rosario Central after a late penalty saw Universidad Católica snatch the win in Chile.

Luciano Aued’s decisive spot kick coming only moments after substitute Duván Vergara looked to have secured a point for Central. The Colombian dashing in behind to strike a wonderfully controlled volley past Matías Dituro in the Universidad Católica goal.

That 93rd minute equaliser looked certain to earn Central a point following Edson Puch’s first half goal but it ultimately ended in heartbreak for El Canalla with Aued’s spot kick.

Central with one point are already playing catch up and face the daunting task of going to Ascunción to face Group H leaders Libertad.

River Plate  0 – 0  Palestino

San Lorenzo  1 – 0  Junior

Universidad Católica  2 – 1  Rosario Central

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