Hand of Cuenca

Copa Sudamericana logoRiver 0 - 0 Arsenal

Somehow, Mario Cuenca kept River Plate from putting any goals past Arsenal in the Monumental in a match which the hosts had far the better of. Arsenal started more sharply and very nearly took the lead almost before the match had begun, but were denied by Juan Pablo Carrizo and thereafter, River dominated, particularly as the second half wore on.

Ariel Ortega was substituted, injured, to be replaced by Mauro Rosales midway through the first half, but even without their driving force River continued to pressure. Fernando Belluschi saw two magnificent long range efforts turned round the post by Cuenca, who also made other important stops. River’s best opportunity fell to Diego Buonanotte but as the ball flew through to him at the far post from a free kick, he didn’t quite arrive in time and his shot from a couple of yards out went into the side netting. Even after Oscar Ahumada was sent off with around twenty minutes to go for a high challenge, River created the better of the chances – but couldn’t finish things off. And so to penalties.

River missed two of their first four, Fernando Belluschi and René Lima seeing their efforts saved, and Arsenal only one (Martín Andrizzi), it was left to Cuenca to apply the finishing touch with Arsenal’s fifth penalty, and he duly obliged.

It leaves Daniel Passarella surely a dead man walking in the River managerial seat. He announced at the start of the Apertura that if he didn’t win a title before the end of the year, he’d leave. River are now out of both competitions and by the end of the Clausura, it’ll be four years since their last trophy…

Arsenal, meanwhile, can celebrate. They’re through to their first ever continental final, in only their second ever season of continental competition, and will face Club América de México in the final, with the first leg to be played in the Azteca on the 28th of November.

11 thoughts on “Hand of Cuenca

  1. That was 90 minutes of hell. Once Belluschi missed that excellent chance in the first half, you could always see it going to penalties. Cuenca did well, though you’d expect a top flight keeper to make those saves. Any truth to the rumor that Diego Simeone is all but pencilled in to take over? Somehow I feel like Passarella isn’t going away so easily. He and Aguilar are the guests who come to dinner and then won’t leave.

  2. My personal favourite for the job is a certain Mr Steve Stauton. His knowlege of Argentine football is second to none having been U9 coach of walsall for 2 months. He beat the mighty San Marino AWAY from home in only his second year as Irish manager. His communication skills are stuff of legend and he studeid spanish until he 16 in st Ignaciuos secondary school in Dundalk. Well he cant be any worse than Pasarella anyway.

  3. i was at the match. supporting my boys arsenal. once the match entered penalties there was no doubt in my mnd arsenal would win. team spirit still counts for somethign in these types of competitions and unlike the river players, who all stood about individually waiting the arsenal team huddled up as a team and prepared for the kicks. river were simply out fought and out managed by tiny arsenal, and i ciouldnt be more happy. gremio, chivas, river : down – time to clip some eagle wings.

  4. Do you know that whatever the result is between Arsenal and America, the Recopa game it’ll be Boca-Arsenal? The reason is ‘cos América is a GUEST. So, before having the results, we all know Recopa it’ll be in Argentina soon.

    ps: Recopa is played by Libertadores and Sudamericana champions (when they’re not guests)

  5. I also knew Arsenal would win in pens. They played for them in the second half, got them, and won. So credit to them for that. However, they weren’t a very entertaining side to watch over the two legs. I’ll support them against America, but hope they try to attack and open play a bit (a lot) more than they did against River.

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