It was Marcelo Gallardo’s 100th match in charge of River Plate, but there were to be no celebrations for him last night in Santa Fe.
As a journalist put to him after the match, “This is the first time River has conceded four goals under your tenure.” Gallardo’s response said it all: “Yep, and in a very bad way. This is the lowest moment during my time here.”
After a minute’s silence following the death of Argentine legend and broadcaster Roberto Perfumo, the first goal of the fixture came in the 22nd minute when River’s defender Emanuel Mammana finished off a chance as if he were a striker, the ball was pumped low into the box and the center back took his chance, taking it on the half volley and instinctively knocking it past the keeper.
That really was as good as it got for River. In the 33rd minute, a rather optimistic-looking long ball out of the Colón defense wasn’t dealt with convincingly, eventually finding its way to the feet of Colón’s 22-year-old attacking mid Alan Ruiz who didn’t need to be asked twice. He hit the ball from a good 25 yards into the bottom left, impossible to stop.
Colón took the lead 22 minutes later when winger Mauricio Sperduti managed to convert from close range, and things went from bad to worse for River when center mid Ignacio Fernández picked up a second yellow for clipping heels as Colón looked to break, although in his defense the contact did look unintentional, rather than cynical.
Then the floodgates opened as River was carved open 12 minutes into the second half. As Ruiz scored emphatically once again, latching onto a long ball and firing home into the top right from just inside the box with a superb finish.
His hat-trick was completed two minutes later when the ball was played back to fan favorite keeper Marcelo Barovero, who was too casual with his clearance. Ruiz charged the goalie down and the ball ricocheted off him into the net. The six-minute collapse was thus complete and Barovero soon became a meme.
¿Cómo atajó Barovero? pic.twitter.com/T1g8NScIUt
— #ConBocaAtodasPartes (@AgusMdp_Cabj12) March 14, 2016
With two minutes left on the clock, Colón’s veteran midfielder Adrián Bastía felt his work was done and got a red card for a reckless challenge through the back, utterly needless, but an early shower all the same.
— Pablo Molinari (@PabloMolinari) March 14, 2016