Offshore drilling, Argentina: at Colón 1, River Plate 1

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Man of the Match: His first professional goal was a memorable one. Twenty-one-year-old center back German Pezzella, making his first appearance of the season, scored in the 88th minute for River Plate, pulling back Colón’s second half opener to give the Millonarios are slightly fortuitous point in Santa Fe.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • It’s not the River didn’t deserve a point. It’s just that the game seemed over. Colón players where coming off to congratulatory ovations. The pace of the game had slowed.  Colón’s spells of possession were starting being met with an complacency hinting River had accepted their fate. Colón was all set to jump back to the top of the Primera.
  • Then came the most dangerous play in soccer: the second ball in from a corner kick. Colón cleared a ball from the right out to River midfielder Leonardo Ponzio. His chip to the left of goal looked premature, four of his teammates still offside, but as they ran ahead of the Colón defense, Pezzella pushed forward. After settling Ponzio’s pass, Pezzella shot past a helpless Diego Pozo for the point-winning goal.
  • After the match, Colón players rushed to referee Nestor Pitana, complaining about the lack of a whistle on the match-winning goal. With a cluster of white kits on the wrong side of Colón’s blue line, you can’t blame them for assuming there should have been a call. Amid the confusion, it was remarkable the assistant ‘s flag stayed down, your subconscious giving that familiar hint that something’s not right. Ultimately, the officiating crew got the call right.
  • For much of the match, River had looked the slightly more dangerous side. Perhaps that means the point is just, but with Colón have played the last 17 minutes like a team running out the clock, you still feel for a home side that thought they have the match sewn up.
  • When Colón midfielder Adrian Bastía came off in the 85th minute, he did the slow, clapping walk that’s usually one of the victors’ final acts. It’s embarrassing to take off one of your veterans – to solicit the crowd’s applause – only to drop points.
  • Colón had taken the lead in the 71th minute on their first good chance of the night, Ruben Ramirez heading home a Bruno Urribarri cross seconds after coming on for Facundo Caruchet. The veteran forward had come on so recently, you wonder if River forgot to account for him on the cross.
  • On the replay, it looked like two Colón attackers were in front of left-center half Jonathan Maidana, with 27-year-old choosing the wrong man to mark.
  • To that point of the match, it had been a somewhat dull affair. The constant singing from the Santa Fe crowd was the only highlight. River seemed the better side, but they were never able to generate good chances for forwards David Trezeguet or Rogelio Fuenes Mori. Every time Colón gained possession, long passes toward Maidana and Rodrigo Fuenes Mori’s side of defense quickly became turnovers.
  • With the point, River runs their unbeaten streak to four, their only loss coming to Belgrano in their return to first division soccer. With two games pending on Monday, River sits ninth in the Primera, earning eight points through five rounds.
  • Ironically, River’s goal helps Boca move to the top of the table, their 12 points one better than Colón, who are part of the three-way tie for second (Newell’s Old Boys, Arsenal).