De La Cruz hits hat-trick as River Plate demolish Aldosivi (VIDEO)

A lacklustre display in Mar del Plata last week from River Plate had allowed Aldosivi to arrive at the Monumental still level in the tie but a Nicolás De La Cruz hat-trick helped the Copa Libertadores champions ruthlessly thrash their opponents to secure a spot in the Copa Superliga quarter finals.

River had to wait until the 27th minute to break the deadlock and when they did so it was in somewhat ugly fashion with Rafael Santos Borré scrambling in from close range. It did however open the floodgates and only moments later Lucas Pratto lifted the ball over the top for De La Cruz to run onto and side-foot past Luciano Pocrnjic.

So superior to Aldosivi the third was only a matter of time and with the pressure increasing first, Enzo Pérez headed against the post and then full-back Fabricio Angileri smacked a shot off the opposite upright.

Laying siege to the Aldosivi goal, Nacho Fernández was the next to force Pocrnjic into action only on this occasion the ball remained alive and Santos Borré rolled it into the path of De La Cruz to emphatically find the net.

The Aldosivi defence now in tatters, Lucas Pratto stroked in number four before De La Cruz completed his hat-trick with a close range header. Marcelo Gallardo’s perseverance with the 21-year-old Uruguayan now paying off with De La Cruz showing the type of form that River supporters had hoped for when they signed him back in 2017.

It was with Uruguay under-20s where De La Cruz really caught the eye and on Friday afternoon River Plate midfielder Cristian Ferreira was included in Argentina’s World Cup squad for later this month. The 19-year-old celebrated off the bench with a wonderful curling shot from the edge of the box to wrap up the win.

River are the first team into the quarter finals and will now wait for either Atlético Tucumán or Talleres.

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