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The Argentine giants were eliminated from the group stage of the tournament after being on the wrong end of a 4-2 defeat to Nacional.

River Plate knew that anything less than the three points would put an end to their Copa Libertadores aspirations, and the Argentine giants played the better football in the first half.

Both teams looked extremely nervous in the early moments of the half, and only settled into the game towards the half hour mark.

Los Millonarios pushed forward at every opportunity, but they didn't try to be too ambitious, so that they wouldn't risk conceding a goal.

In the 42nd minute Ignacio Caceres brought down Cristian Fabbiani for a penalty kick. Radamel Falcao Garcia stepped up to the spot and fired River ahead.

But three minutes later Nacional were awarded their own spot-kick, and Fabio Escobar drew the Paraguayans level.

In the second period the game opened up a great deal compared to the first, and River created a couple of decent opportunities to score.

The '96 Copa Libertadores champions were reduced to ten men in the 58th minute after violent play from Diego Buonanotte.

Nacional took advantage of their extra-man and went ahead in the 65th minute when Jorge Nunez was put through on goal and beat Daniel Vega with the outside of his right boot.

In the 73rd minute their lead was extended courtesy of a simple tap-in from Carlos Peralta.

Six minutes later Nunez added their fourth goal when he fired the ball home after a neat one-two with Brazilian midfielder Inca.

Marcelo Gallardo
pulled a goal back for River in the 81st minute with a spectacular curling free-kick.

River Plate were eliminated from the group stage of the Copa Libertadores for the second time in three years.

Gregory Sica, Goal.com

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