Mario Pavone's 88th minute goal gave River Plate a deserving win against Independiente on Sunday night in Avellaneda.A classic battle between two legendary clubs took place just south of the city of Buenos Aires as River Plate ventured to Avellaneda to take on Independiente on Sunday night.
Both teams have been mediocre in the league so far this season, failing to show much. Independiente, however, has looked like a contender for the Copa Libertadores title, winning their first group stage game after taking home the title in the Copa Sudamericana.
The translation of success to the domestic game was the hope for Sunday night for fans of Independiente.
Unfortunately for them, Mariano Pavone made his mark.
A goal in the 88th minute from the former Real Betis striker sent River Plate home with a 1-0 victory, earning them a share of the top spot in the table with Olimpo.
Pavone scored on a solo effort, using his size and strength to fight off his defender to get a touch on the ball that keeper Hilario Navarro could not wrap up. As the ball rolled towards the goal, he tucked it away only centimeters out for a simple goal in a complicated game.
River had their chances early in the game, but finally converted on their last one.
16 minutes in, River Plate had one of their best. Starlet Erik Lamela gained possession down the left side and sent in a quality cross to the far post to Pavone. The forward hit a shot to the near post but it was saved by a diving Navarro.
Pavone had another chance 10 minutes later, drilling a bullet to the left post from 35 metres out that was saved by Navarro, who quickly pushed the ball away to his right.
‘Los Millionarios’ clearly had control of the game, eliminating all advances from the home side. Offensively, the squad was able to spread the ball wide and into space, attacking laterally.
River Plate had a goal disallowed in the first half that should have clearly counted when Paulo Ferrari slotted home an easy ball from six metres out. Upon viewing the replay, Ferrari could be clearly seen behind the ball after the cross from the left, proving the call incorrect.
Out of the several chances they had, River could not take theirs early. Neither could Independiente.
‘El Rojo’ had a great chance five minutes before half time when Nestor Silvera got his head on a corner kick, but the ball ended up right into the hands of keeper Leandro Chichizola.
The Avellaneda club controlled the last portion of the half, but both teams entered the break with nothing to show for it.
Nicolas Cabrera almost put Independiente up seven minutes into the second half, but failed to slide the ball under Chichizola as he was alone on the right side of the box.
For the following 25 minutes, not one solid chance could be found. A dismal display of attacking ability was witnessed by all spectators. Each club could not build up and create offensive chances. Both defences stood strong and halted all attacks.
The visitors controlled the ball and were able to get the ball into the box, but they could not evade defenders for threatening shots. That is, until Pavone's winner.
Next up, River Plate will host Argentinos Juniors on Sunday. Independiente face LDU Quito on Thursday in the Copa Libertadores before venturing down the road to Arsenal de Sarandi on Monday.