River Plate salvage draw in Copa Libertadores dead rubber with Internacional (VIDEO)

There was no real last day drama to be found in Copa Libertadores Group A with the top two facing off at the Monumental already aware of their finishing positions and Alianza Lima needing a five-goal win over Palestino just to snatch a Copa Sudamericana spot. That didn’t happen. But River Plate and Internacional did serve up an entertaining, if somewhat lackadaisical, 2-2 draw.

Marcelo Gallardo made changes and certainly those in defence showed with Internacional scoring twice and almost wrapping up their impressive group stage performance with a win.

One of those given a chance in the starting eleven took full advantage as it was youngster Julián Álvarez who broke the deadlock, springing the offside trap to delicately lift the ball over Marcelo Lomba to give River a 34th minute lead. The 19-year-old was named in Argentina’s under-20 World Cup earlier this week and will soon be linking up with the squad ahead of the tournament in Poland later this month.

The lead didn’t hold until half time though. Rafael Sobis picked the ball up some 40 yards from goal and with the River defence standing off, the Brazilian striker opted to try his luck, seemingly catching a flat-footed Franco Armani off-guard the ball skidded low into the net.

Sobis was granted an opportunity for a second from the penalty spot after the break which the 33-year-old gratefully took and it appeared as though that would be enough.

The Monumental was treated to a substitute appearance from icon Andrés D’Alessandro even if he was wearing the red of Internacional and had Guilherme Parede been a little more alert in stoppage time and squared the ball rather than going for goal, the great D’Ale might have had a goal.

Instead Internacional wasted the opportunity to wrap it up and in the final stages, a fumble by Lomba saw Lucas Pratto scramble an equaliser.

Despite finishing second in the group, the Champions will remain among the favourites and no one will fancy taking on Gallardo’s team in the knockout stages.


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