There are ways and means to get eliminated from a competition. And if one could be chosen, surely everyone would choose the way River plate said goodbye to this edition of the Libertadores Cup in the rematch of the semifinals against him Palmeiras.
Thanks to great efficiency and several defensive errors by the ‘millionaires’, the Brazilian team had won 0-3 in the first leg last week in Buenos Aires, which left the series virtually liquidated. To turn history around, “you have to play the perfect game,” said Marcelo Gallardo in the run-up to this return match.
And his River did. He came out determined from the locker room, scored the goal he needed – a tremendous header from Robert Rojas, just off a corner kick at the 28th minute – to put fear in the homeowner’s body, he increased the count just before halftime (I erased on 44 ‘) and in the complement he generated countless situations and overwhelmed his rival, who only devoted himself to retreating against his goal, taking the ball off him and yearning for the final whistle.
The VAR, central protagonist
In that flurry that the visiting team was, they reached third, the goal they needed to equalize the series. After a collective game, in the 51st minute the international Montiel scored, the goal was celebrated for several minutes, the ball was placed in the central circle for the service of the locals and at that moment from the VAR they notified the referee that they were reviewing the action: after a long time of uncertainty, the maneuver was canceled by a very fine offside in a previous play.
But the prominence of the arbitration video did not stop there, because Gallardo’s men continued to attack by all possible paths and thus came a play in which the judge whistled a foul on Matías Suárez inside the area and consequently a penalty. Everything ready to be executed and a new call to the referee, who came to observe the action on the monitor and decided to reverse his decision.
Even with the expulsion of Rojas (double yellow) in 73 ‘, the dynamics of the game did not change: the visit overwhelming a cold and soulless homeowner based on heart, bravery and numerous game variants. Thus, already in injury time there was another possible penalty for River, also reviewed by the referee via video and not charged either. After that, the end came, so longed for by the hosts, so unfair for their rival.
Palmeiras will play against Santos or Boca
There was so much difference between one team and the other, and such was the show of superiority of the ‘millionaires’ – who long deserved a pass to the final – that the first reaction of the Palmeiras coach, the Portuguese Abel Ferreira, was, even before to celebrate with their team, hug Gallardo and speak in his ear to convey all their admiration.After this pass sweating the fat drop, the Brazilians will be in the grand final of Maracaná on January 30, in which they will face the result victorious in the duel this next morning between Santos and Boca Juniors (0-0 the first leg).