Final tournamentMonday, May 19, 2014
Seals crown with five-goal rout over Quilmes at the Monumental stadium
River Plate clinched its 35th league title yesterday after thrashing Quilmes 5-0 at a packed Monumental stadium. It was the club’s first trophy since 2008.
Captain Fernando Cavenaghi scored twice as River Plate crushed Quilmes 5-0 to win its 35th Argentine league title at a delirious Monumental stadium yesterday.
River won the Final Tournament, the second of two in the season, with a five-point margin over Boca Juniors, Estudiantes de La Plata and Godoy Cruz in joint second place. San Lorenzo won the season’s first title, the Initial.
Unbeaten in its last seven matches, River notched its eighth successive victory at the Monumental, its formidable performance at home having proved decisive in its campaign.
Boca leapt into second place thanks to its fifth win in a row, 1-0 over Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. Estudiantes lost 2-1 at Tigre and Godoy Cruz beat Racing Club 2-1 in Mendoza.
River went front after 10 minutes when Cavenaghi swooped on a rebound and fired the ball into the roof of the net after goalkeeper Walter Benítez had dived to block a Carlos Carbonero header.
The home side pulled further ahead at a 25th minute corner with centre back Jonatan Maidana glancing the ball across goal with his head at the near post and right back Gabriel Mercado scoring with a diving header at the far post for his second goal in two matches.
Holding midfielder Cristian Ledesma scored a brilliant third goal in the 63rd minute with a shot from 30 metres into the top corner and Cavenaghi made it four seven minutes later from Teófilo Gutiérrez’s perfect through-ball to the right.
“I shot and luckily I scored a goal. I want to thank my family and my teammates, who support me every day,” said the 35-year-old Ledesma.
World Cup-bound Colombia striker Gutiérrez put the icing on the cake, finishing off a counter-attack in stoppage time with the fifth from playmaker Manuel Lanzini’s pass.
“I’ll never forget this match,” said Gutiérrez, one of three Colombians playing for River.
The host played with: Marcelo Barovero; Mercado, Maidana, Éder Álvarez Balanta, Leonel Vangioni; Carbonero, Ledesma, Ariel Rojas; Manuel Lanzini; Gutiérrez and Cavenaghi.
Quilmes’s team was: Benítez; Damián Leyes, Cristian Lema, Joel Carli, Lucas Suárez; Emiliano Carrasco, Leandro Díaz, Leandro Benítez, Lucas Pérez Godoy; Gonzalo Ríos and Fernando Telechea.
Quilmes escaped from relegation last weekend after defeating title contender Gimnasia y Esgrima, but yesterday’s performance was not even close to what it showed last week.
It was a record eighth title as River coach for Ramón Díaz, in his third spell at the club where he shone as a striker in the 1980s.
It was also River’s first title since 2008 when Diego Simeone, whose Atlético Madrid was crowned Spanish champion on Saturday, was in charge and will help heal the wounds of the Argentina giants’ first ever relegation three years ago.
Estudiantes was in second place with a chance to snatch the title going into the final round of matches but was unable to send veteran captain Juan Sebastián Verón into retirement on a winning note.
The team coached by Mauricio Pellegrino was beaten 2-1 by Tigre.
Meanwhile, Gimnasia, the other team with chances of taking the title, lost 1-0 at home against Boca Juniors.
At the Monumental, the celebration started with the players and coaching staff in the middle of the field singing the team song with the supporters, who filled the stadium.
After that they did the usual round and then they did it again but on an opentop bus.
The party continued in the locker rooms, where the players continued celebrating with music while the journalist tried to get some quotes.
The joy was also outside the Monumental, as thousands of fans went to the Obelisk dressed with the typical white with a red band jersey, and flags.
In New York, a group of fans living there also celebrated at the Times Square, while there were celebrations in Madrid too.
Next weekend, River and San Lorenzo will play in a Super Final to decide which of boths sides is the Final Argentine champion. The winner of the match will be qualified for the South American Cup. It will be the second time that a Super Final between the Initial and Final Tournaments champions will be played. Last year, Vélez Sarsfield defeated Newell’s Old Boys.
Herald with agencies