BUENOS AIRES – Argentine soccer clubs Racing Club and River Plate on Thursday finished their first match in the Copa Libertadores round of 16 without a goal.
In the Juan Domingo Peron stadium, Racing Club, known among its fans as “the Academy,” were dominating the game but failed to score.
Meanwhile, River Plate or “the Millionaires” adopted a more defensive and counter attacking approach, especially after Leonardo Ponzio was given a red card at the end of the first half.
In the first half, Racing Club managed to save a shot from River Plate’s Martinez Quarta thanks to an intervention by their goalkeeper Gabriel Arias.
Later, River Plate’s Javier Pinola wasted a good opportunity to score, when his teammate, Franco Armani, intercepted a shot by Gustavo Bou.
In the last minute of this first half, Brazilian referee Anderson Daronco showed the red card to Leonardo Ponzio for a foul on Saravia.
At the start of the second half, both coaches restructured their team: Racing Club’s coach Eduardo Coudet replaced Federico Saracho with Augusto Solari while River Plate’s Marcelo Gallardo reinforced his midfield strategy by replacing Ignacio Scocco with Bruno Zuculini.
Racing later had two clear opportunities to open the scoring, but goalkeeper Franco Armani managed to save the shots on both occasions.
Racing Club and River Plate will meet again in a rematch on Aug. 29 at the Estadio Monumental, the winner of which will qualify for the quarterfinal of the 2018 Copa Libertadores and will face either Club Atletico Independiente or Santos FC.