Gallardo’s always concentrated demeanor, seeking to continue making history on the River. Picture German Garcia Adrasti – CLARIN
Occasionally he revealed this to the public. But behind closed doors, he often commented on it. Marcelo Gallardo wants to define the Copa Libertadores series at home. In the color and warmth of the River fans. Full of Monumental. And if I had such a desire when it was double the value of the fight goal in case there was an equality in the overall result, now that this rule has been removed, more.
So, even if his team qualifies for round of 16 of the current edition of the maximum continental tournament, in first place in group F, for Muñeco the meeting is not a party this Wednesday night against Alliance of Five, on the 121st anniversary of the institution. The coach wanted River to finish with the highest possible score in the firsts and with multiple goals in favor.
The reason has to do with the fact that if River passes the round of 16 (where it will determine the local for first place), in the hypothetical quarters and semifinals, if it goes ahead in the Cup, and it has to face another, the localities were determined according to the number of points earned in the group stage.
Now, how much influence can the local define today, since external influence is often unproductive for the homeowner? River knew this well, having been able to advance to the round several times in the Gallardo round by winning as a guest, after losing at home. Just remember the epic victories at Belo Horizonte (3-0 over Cruzeiro in the 2015 quarterfinals) and Porto Alegre (2-1 over Gremio in the 2018 semifinals).
Anyway, beyond a few specific games, River has also been strong at home. At Monumental, on the Muñeco stage, he played 37 games (there were six more at home, but five were at Independiente and one at the Santiago Bernabéu), where he won 20, tied 12 and lost 5. That is, he reaped 65 percent of the points. And as a visitor, he played 44 games, where he won 16, drew 20 and fell to 8, giving him an average of 51% of the units recovered.
And since Gallardo arrived, he’s had 21 head-to-head series, where he won 16 and dropped another 5. The only chance he was left in defining at home was in the 2016 Libertadores round of 16 against Independiente del Valle, who although River beat him 1-0 in Núñez, was not enough as he lost 2-0 in Quito.
The other three were as guests: Lanús, in the 2017 semis (they won the first leg 1-0 and lost the second leg 4-2); Palmeiras in the 2020 semis (he lost 3-0 in the first leg to Independiente and won 2-0 in the second leg but it wasn’t enough) and Atlético Mineiro, in the quarterfinals of last year’s edition (he lost the same game, 1-0 at Monumental and 3-0 at Belo Horizonte, and another fall was on neutral ground: he lost the 2019 final with Flamengo at Monumental in Lima.
Other series identified by River as local, besides Independiente del Valle, were won: the 2015 final against the Tigres; the eighth and quarterfinals of 2017, against Guaraní and Jorge Wilstermann; the eighth and quarterfinals of 2018, against Racing and Independiente. Later, despite the fact that the records seem local, the 2018 Copa Libertadores final they beat Boca defined in Madrid and the 2020 round of 16, where they beat Atlético Paranaense, played in the Independent, because they is remodeling the Monumental.
Now, even though the latest antecedent of the one-on-one definition has a defeat (against the Tigers, for the League Cup quarterfinals) to Udaondo and Figueroa Alcorta, Gallardo wants his team to define everything possible as a local. River had 13 points and an eight -goal difference in its favor. And it will definitely be among the top three best in the competition. But, for this, he needed a victory against Alianza Lima, the last in the group and already eliminated. And if it has a good goal gap, even better. Because of this, Manika will do her best.
No Zuculini but with Enzo Pérez
Bruno Zuculini tested positive for the coronavirus in tests conducted on River players and members of the coaching staff at the start of the match against Alianza Lima. That is why the central midfielder -he is isolated at home- will not be able to play against the Peruvian team. But Marcelo Gallardo will have the return of Enzo Pérez, who did not play against Colo-Colo because he was suspended because he reached the warning limit.
In addition, Manika may have at his disposal Franco Armani and Tomás Pochettino because both tested negative after being infected last week. Neither has Javier Pinola, who although he already has a medical discharge, continues to be positive.