Copa Libertadores: River Plate fight back for point against Internacional, Huracán suffer defeat in Venezuela & Godoy Cruz held by ten-man Universidad de Concepción (VIDEO)

Copa Libertadores champions River Plate are still without a win in this year’s competition and for now sit third in Group A. The threat of first round elimination lingers although Marcelo Gallardo’s side showed that familiar spirit and resolve in Porto Alegre on Wednesday to battle from two-down to claim a point from group leaders Internacional.

When Nicolás López had stabbed Internacional in front after quarter of an hour and Edenilson burst past Lucas Martínez Quarta to double the lead soon after, River looked in serious danger. With Franco Armani injured, back-up goalkeeper Germán Lux was beaten easily, the defence looked shaky and without the likes of Exequiel Palacios and most importantly Juan Fernando Quintero, it wasn’t clear if River had the resources to overturn such a deficit.

However, River were thrown a lifeline just before the break. Cristian Ferreira’s free-kick struck Edenilson’s arm in the wall, referee Esteban Ostojich pointed to the spot and Lucas Pratto slotted in.

Sensing a change in momentum, Gallardo made two half time changes with Martínez Quarta’s miserable game was brought to an end and Nicolás de la Cruz replacing Cristian Ferreira. The Uruguayan youngster has failed to live up to expectation since arriving at the Monumental but proved decisive, bending in a wonderful free-kick to bring River level.

Neither side could find a winner and while for Internacional it was their first points dropped, the Brazilians remain in control of the group. For River, the visit of Alianza Lima to the Monumental next week is a must-win.

Internacional  2 – 2  River Plate

Huracán meanwhile are already in deep trouble after defeat to Deportivo Lara left El Globo bottom of Group B ahead of a daunting trip to Cruzeiro next week.

A rash challenge by Saúl Salcedo allowed Bernaldo Manzano to open the scoring from the penalty spot inside ten minutes and moments before the break David Centeno escaped the Huracán defence to slot in a second unchallenged.

A Manzano own-goal pulled one back for Huracán and when the Deportivo Lara midfielder was sent off soon after there was hope for a Huracán comeback. Yet El Globo’s woeful league form has followed them into this year’s Copa Libertadores and unable to find an equaliser all that was left was for substitute Javier Mendoza to be shown a red card late on.

Plummeting in the league and at serious risk of a first round exit in the Libertadores, Antonio Mohamed comes under increasing pressure as Huracán manager.

Deportivo Lara  2 – 1  Huracán

Godoy Cruz remain unbeaten but without a win in Group C and will feel they could and perhaps should have left Chile with three points against a Universidad de Concepción side playing with ten men for the vast majority.

Santiago García had already seen one effort cleared off the line after rounding goalkeeper Cristián Muñoz and when the home side saw Guillermo Pacheco shown a second yellow card after only half an hour El Tomba sensed an invaluable away win was a possibility.

However, Lucas Bernardi’s side were unable to find a way through and when pushing forward in search of that elusive opener left themselves open on the counter. A situation that was almost the visitors’ undoing when Roberto Ramírez was forced to save one-on-one with Patricio Rubio.

Olimpia play Sporting Cristal on Thursday and so Godoy Cruz may well slip to third but in a tight group it could go to the wire. El Tomba travel to Paraguay next week to play Olimpia.

Universidad de Concepción  0 – 0  Godoy Cruz


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