River Plate made a losing
return to the Argentine first division with a 2-1 defeat at home
to Belgrano, the team who sent them down just over one year ago.
River missed an 87th minute penalty when Rogelio Funes Mori
fired his effort high and wide of the goal and Belgrano
goalkeeper Juan Carlos Olave was sent off for his celebration in
which he appeared to make gestures at the referee.
The referee was surrounded by protesting Belgrano players
and the visitors, who had already made three substitutions,
ended the game with centre forward Juan Martin in goal.
River, one of the country's biggest clubs, were given a
rapturous reception on a foggy evening but left the pitch amid
jeers and insults.
Their problems began two minutes before halftime in Sunday's
match when goalkeeper Daniel Vega failed to hold a cross and
Lucas Melano headed the visitors in front.
Another mistake, this time by Ezequiel Cirigliano, led to
Belgrano's second goal at the start of the second half as Martin
Zapata set up Cesar Carranza to score with a clinical finish.
Manuel Lanzini pulled one back with 15 minutes left before
River were awarded a hugely controversial penalty which Funes
Mori blasted over.
River were relegated just over one year ago to Belgrano in a
River's arch-rivals Boca Juniors had an even worse start to
the 2012/13 title race as they lost 3-0 to Quilmes on Saturday
while defending champions Arsenal began with a 1-0 win over
The championship this season is being played under a new
format, with the contest divided into two halves and the winners
of each meeting in an end-of-season final. Previously, two
separate championships were held in the Argentine season.
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