River Plate will play the sixth Copa Libertadores final of its history after a heroic performance at the Arena Do Gremio where they defeated Gremio 2-1 on an epic night.
The team of today, accompanied by who many consider the best Technical Director in the history of River, came to Brazil with the confidence of knowing he could turn around the result and the poor image left last week in El Monumental where he was defeated by 1-0.
At end of the day, 40 series of 47 won hand-in-hand endorse and support his dream of reaching a new end. With only see the list of players who waited for their chance on the bench, the absence of Bruno Zuculini, and the inclusion of offensive players such as Enzo Pérez, Pity Martinez, Nacho Scocco or Rodrigo Mora, you could already imagine an aggressive tactical approach thought by the brilliant mind of Marcelo Gallardo to go in search of victory.
River started with a 4-4-2 system, with the central players well-advanced. The side had the mission to climb constantly and with Ponzio doing the dirty work of containment and Exequiel Palacios, Nacho Fernandez and the Colombian Juanfer Quinteros rotating permanently.
Borre and Pratto going in and out, looking to receive the filtered passes of Quinteros that started the game but went off within minutes. The high pressure of the players of River, with Pinola as standard, and the intention of not losing any rebounds made protagonists to River before a timid Gremio that only managed to take refuge behind and try to leave fast of counterattack.
Three minutes later, a great pass from Quinteros was wasted by Borr, who was face-to-face with Grohe and beyond the lament. Palacios and Ponzio with long-distance shots were also close to opening the scoring and River dominated the team of Renato Gaúcho at will.
They say that the goals that are not made in an arc are made in the other, and Armani until the 36th minute had been a spectator of luxury. He could not do anything before the shot of Leonardo Gómez that was put next to his right stick and gave the advantage to a Gremio side that did not deserve it. 60,000 fans were disgusted as his players returned to him on the field. The injury of his captain Ponzio, replaced by the two-time World Cup player Enzo Perez and the goal against them did not crumble River, who remained the protagonist until the end of the first half.
The second half was totally different, Gremio were dedicated only to interrupting the game. With Grohe thrown to the floor asking for medical attention and River with Enzo Perez between the central tried to leave clean from below did not get to hurt his rival. Not even the efforts of Pity Martinez worked and the despair began to invade the 4000 Millionaire fans who were in the stands and millions of fans around the world.
But this River has a soul, mystique, and hunger for glory and the impossible happened. At 82 minutes, the tireless Borre managed to head a Pity Martinez ball and tied the game. Everyone at that moment gave them the feeling that if they could and the players showed that it was true, they kept searching until Scocco in almost completed time finished off the goal and the ball hit Bressan’s hand to go out to the corner kick.
No one at that moment was aware of the infraction, not even the players of River until the assistance of VAR notified Uruguayan referee Andrés Cunha of the impediment. Pity Martinez after 10 minutes, generated by the claims of the players of Gremio and the expulsion of Bressan, took the ball with authority and masterfully decreed the final score as 2-1. Only a couple of minutes left where Gremio desperately sought a draw against a solid Rival who leaned on the figure of Armani.
It was a night that will be a big story for a huge club like River Plate, not only for the feat of turning an adverse result into an almost impregnable court, where Gremio had only received a goal in the Cup and where he had never lost a hand key by hand, but because it magnifies the mystique of a team that whenever it plays gives the feeling that they know how to do it.
River Plate under Napoleon Marcelo Gallardo played as they had to play this kind of game. He showed the world that nothing is impossible with work, humility, and conviction and qualified for the final of the most important tournament in the continent. The future says Boca, but that will be another story. Now to enjoy this historic victory.
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