In a pivotal Copa Libertadores match last night, River Plate defeated Fluminense 2-0 to move into second place in Group D. River started the matchday bottom of the group with only four points but with this win now moved above Sporting Cristal (seven points) despite Cristal’s 2-1 win against The Strongest (six Points). With only one match left in the group stage, River is ahead of Sporting Cristal based on goals scored: nine goals to seven.
Lucas Beltrán opened the score box 4 minutes into the second half from close range following a well-placed assist from Pablo Solari. Esequiel Barco, on loan from MLS team Atlanta United, sealed the win with a penalty 7 minutes into stoppage time after it was ruled he’d been fouled from behind by Felipe Melo in the box.
With their qualification hopes resting on a win, River attacked the penalty area of the Brazilian club with relentless pressure creating many opportunities. There were many moments where the referee was placed at the center of attention, denying multiple penalty claims for each team as well as a potential goal for River that was determined to be offside.
Despite starting strong and winning their first five group stage games, Fluminense has lost its last two, placing large importance on their final home game against Sporting Cristal to secure qualification to the next round.
A win against The Strongest at home on June 27th would likely put River through to the next stage of the competition. The previous meeting between them in April resulted in a 3-1 win for the Strongest, giving River an opportunity to avenge their previous defeat.
The final matches for Group D will simultaneously kick-off at 9 pm with each team in the group still having the possibility to qualify for the next round.
-with information from Télam