River defeated Banfield 2-0 for the fourth round of the Professional League Cup, and climbed to the top of Zone 3.
Now, the millionaire shares the first place with 9 points with the Drill. Central (3) and Godoy Cruz (0), who will meet on Monday, are also part of the group.
Undoubtedly, River took a necessary victory from the South, which gives him peace of mind and confidence thinking about what is coming.
What is coming is nothing less than the Copa Libertadores: on Tuesday at 7.15pm the Núñez team will visit Atlético Paranaense, for the first leg of the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores.
For Gallardo, there was several good news. One of the most important was undoubtedly the recovery of Nacho Fernández, who returned to play after two weeks after the tear that marginalized him from the courts.
On the other hand, the coach also recovered Rafael Santos Borré: the Colombian entered in the second half, already in a position to return after catching the coronavirus.
In an even first half and without many situations, where Banfield was a little more than his rival, the Drill had a great chance to take advantage.
Ponzio put his hand in the area when he tried to head a ball and committed a child penalty. The referee charged a penalty, but Lollo faced off against Bologna very badly executed the 12-step shot and sent the ball to the stands.
It is the second penalty that a millionaire rival misses against the substitute goalkeeper: last week, against Godoy Cruz, the 1 saved Badaloni’s shot.
Banfield, in addition, suffered two very important casualties in that first half, perhaps decisive for the result: in just five minutes he was left without Cuero, one of his great figures, torn, and without Arboleda, the goalkeeper who had been a guarantee under the three suits, who came out after a collision with Pinola.
In the complement, Gallardo’s set was better accommodated. Banfield, without Cuero, no longer had the same counterattack explosion, although he sought to take advantage of the spaces with the speed of the entered Urzi and the good game of Payero.
Anyway, in the first minute of play, Coronel had the 1-0 in a heads up against Bologna, but the defender finished off wide.
However, the millionaire dominated the ball more in the second half. And he reached the goal after a corner kick, and a ball that did not finish being rejected from the area, which was left to Nacho Fernández for the initial 1 to 0.
Banfield had his chance to tie with a cross shot from Rodríguez and a great header from Galoppo that Bologna sent to the corner kick.
But River continued to threaten, and from another corner kick, in this case from the right, Robert Rojas scored a tremendous header for the final 2-0.
This triumph was a good test for River, since it prevailed against a rival that arrived as leader and undefeated, and that had clearly beaten it in the debut by 3 to 1.
Gallardo showed that he knows how to manage the squad well, with the mix of starters and substitutes (he made his 18-year-old midfielder Santiago Simón debut against the Drill): the DT saved Armani, Montiel and Paulo Díaz and left for the second half Borré, Suárez and Enzo Pérez.
Now, with the tranquility of victory, he will think about the visit to Paranaense next Tuesday, where he is a great candidate looking to pass the round and advance towards another final of CONMEBOL Libertadores.