Final tournamentMonday, May 5, 2014
Chichizola saves the day for River
His team goes top after dramatic 3-2 victory over Racing
Leandro Chichizola blocked a penalty shot by Sebastián Saja in injury time to become the hero of the afternoon in River Plate’s 3-2 victory over Racing and returned to the top of the standings.
It was a party at the Monumental stadium before the end of the match, as River Plate was claiming the derby against Racing 3-2 and regaining the top of the standings. However, the home fans, coaching staff and players suffered a scare in the second minute of injury time when referee Diego Abal awarded a penalty for the visitors as Ariel Rojas handed the ball inside the box.
Racing captain and goalkeeper Sebastián Saja had the opportunity to tie the game with his shot, but Leandro Chichizola blocked the penalty to the joy of a packed Monumental stadium.
“We will see in the future (if blocking the penalty could mean the title), but it was very important to win today (yesterday),” said Chichizola, who replaced Marcelo Barovero who is recovering from an injury.
With the win, River reaches the top again and shares it with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. Both teams have 31 points.
It was one of the most entertaining games of the season yesterday between title contender River Plate and a struggling Racing side, which continued with its disappointing tournament.
Ramón Díaz’s team took the lead in the 24th minute, when striker Fernando Cavenaghi scored with a penalty, but Racing equalized with midfielder Diego Villar’s goal in the 37th.
Two minutes before the end of the first half, Colombian midfielder Carlos Carbonero netted his sixth goal on the tournament to put River ahead.
Cavenaghi scored a fantastic goal after a magnificent team play to extend the lead in the 53rd, but Gabriel Hauche pulled one back in the 72nd.
River defender Jonatan Maidana was sent off in the 90th and two minutes later Abal awarded a penalty for Racing, which Chichizola blocked to become the hero of the afternoon.
“To miss the penalty deny the point for us. I feel responsible for the defeat,” said Saja.
In La Plata, Gimnasia drew 0-0 with Lanús, coached by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, a Gimnasia idol, and continue leading the standings with River.
Pedro Troglio’s team played nervously and, although it was the best of both sides and had more clear scoring chances, wasted its opportunity to stay alone at the top at the Juan Carmelo Zerrillo stadium.
With the draw, Gimnasia ended a positive run of six straight victories that put it in good position to clinch its first league title in its history with only two rounds remaining.
Meanwhile, Lanús, which on Thursday will play the first leg match against Bolívar of Bolivia at home for the Libertadores Cup quarterfinals, wasted its last chance to stay in contention for the title with two straight goalless draws (the other was against Tigre on Wednesday for the 14th round).
“We created and had many scoring chances. I think that it was a good match against a strong team,” said Troglio. “I return home satisfied and as leader in the standings. I can’t ask more to the players.”
Earlier, Arsenal de Sarandí, coached by Martín Palermo, defeated Newell’s Old Boys 3-2 yesterday to escape from the bottom of the standings in an entertaining game at the Julio Humberto Grondona stadium.
During the first half, the hosts went ahead with two goals scored by defender Mariano Echeverría in the first and sixth minutes, while forward Fabián Muñoz pulled one back for Newell’s.
Midfielder Lucas Bernardi tied the match with a penalty in the 67th, but striker Emilio Zelaya gave Arsenal the victory three minutes before the end.
Last night at press time, Boca Juniors visited relegation-threatened All Boys at the Islas Malvinas stadium.
Herald with agencies