Fluminense advance to the Libertadores round of 16

A dominant Fluminense side saw off Argentine giants River Plate as they claimed a win and advanced further in the Libertadores.

Fluminense qualified for the Libertadores da América round of 16 with spirit. Coach Roger Machado’s team beat River Plate 3-1 at Monumental de Nez on Tuesday night, in the 120th anniversary of the Argentine club. They claimed first place in Group D, and River also made the next round despite losing.

Fluminense went into the game with everything they’ve got, despite coming from a defeat to Junior Barranquilla, which complicated their Libertadores outing.

They seemed unstoppable especially in the first half as they went 2-0 up, in the space of seven minutes before the half hour mark, with goals coming from Caio Paulista and Nenê.

Things became more complicated for River later on in the second half, when they had to play with ten men from Jonathan Maidana’s dismissal in the 67th minute for an elbow on Caio Paulista.

The hosts however, pulled a goal back in a superb fashion through Girotti, five minutes to the end of normal time, but Yago Felipe made sure the tricolor victory was sealed in 2nd minute of extra time, following a good display by Abel Hernández.

Unlike the previous round, River Plate were able to bring back some players who were unable to face Santa Fe due to Covid-19 infection. Only four players were vetoed in the nick of time: Zuculini, Petroli, Ponce, and Rollheise, all midfielders.

Most starters have had little time to train since returning from quarantine, which could explain Gallardo’s men’s lackluster performance. River would have been eliminated if Junior Barranquilla scored a goal in Colombia.

Fluminense finished the group stage in first place in Group D with 11 points, thanks to the win. River Plate was second with nine points, followed by Junior Barranquilla (seven) and Santa Fe (six) (three points).

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