After the victory against Platense, which allowed them to keep their five-point lead over San Lorenzo in the league, River look back on Thursday’s decisive match at 21:00 in Lima against Sporting Cristal for the Copa Libertadoreswhich will be the key to the future of Martín Demichelis’ team in the continental competition.
This match is crucial for River as, due to goal difference, he is the last of his group. Despite having three points, like The Strongest and Sporting Cristal, the goal record is -4, while the Bolivian team has it at zero and the Peruvian at -3. So, given this scenario, Núñez’s team needs a good result in Lima.
“Obviously you have to go looking for a win in Peru. There is one team with nine and another three with three points. I’m sure we’ll get ready to look for him. Now we play triangle and we have to add more than the other two teams,” said Demichelis.
A win would bring calm and leave him well positioned for his final two games, against Fluminense and The Strongest., which he will receive at the Monumental. And a draw would keep him on hold and reckoning. In that case he would serve the Bolivians in order not to beat Fluminense (he would go to Bolivia with an alternative team) at the height of La Paz in order not to make a difference in points.
But beyond the mathematics, Demichelis and company are only thinking about playing a great game at the National Stadium in Lima. “Thursday is my mind,” said the coach at the press conference after the victory over Platense.
Because of this, the team had no rest. On Sunday evening he slept in the Monumental concentration camp and from Monday morning he trained at the stadium. The idea of not resting had to do with not losing pace and with the team being united for a key match, which will be a difficult match against Sporting Cristal who just won this weekend (3-2 against Cusco ) in his championship, in which he is third, albeit with little chance of being crowned as he is eight points behind the leader (Alianza Lima) with nine up for grabs.
The good news is that the DT will be able to count on Nicolás De La Cruz for Thursday. The bad news is that Emanuel Mammana continues to work in a differentiated way due to the synovitis that afflicts his left knee.
As for the rival, Micho evaluates the following: “I don’t think Sporting will change their way of playing. He will try to be the protagonist, as seen with Fluminense and The Strongest. If you let him play, he plays well. We need to play a smart match and reduce the amount of inaccuracies we have today.”
The coach and his assistants are concerned about the inaccuracies that the team has had in the last few games and that with Platense they have been discovered since from the wrong passes from River, Squid entered the game and was encouraged to try to hurt him.
This theme is the one that is being worked on the most these days in training, to improve and boost ball circulation so that the team does not lose fluidity in the game. “Having a large number of inaccuracies is what fills us with adverse feelings and increases the rival’s confidence. It happened to us with Talleres and also with Platense,” said Demichelis. And he added: “There is a lot to work on and to correct.”
What Demichelis will also have to define for Thursday is the scheme to implement. In the first leg against Sporting Cristal he played with a double 9 (with Salomón Rondón and Lucas Beltrán) but at the break he put Rodrigo Aliendro to partner Enzo Pérez in midfield, with a team that was down to 10 men due to the expulsion of Enzo Diaz. Now Aliendro doesn’t touch himself and De La Cruz will enter for the Palavecino.
Now, the one asking for a clue is Miguel Borja, who came back to win Platense. “Today I decided for Borja because I knew that in the first I would score the goal“, Micho joked. And he did not close the door to a possible duo of the Colombian with Beltrán. “On some occasions they did. They are different characteristics. Miguel is much more from the area, Lucas is a 9 who can come down to look for, to support. I’ll see what decision I make for Thursday, but it’s clear that the two can play together,” he admitted.
Meanwhile, with Mammana between the cottons, the central duo will be made up of Robert Rojas and Paulo Díaz, given that Leandro González Pirez is suspended after being sent off against Fluminense in Brazil. For this Demichelis has entered the Paraguayan as a starter against Platense to discover that he has a pace of play.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.