BUENOS AIRES - Illustrious River Plate,
battling to avoid relegation at the start of the Argentine
season, scored a guilt-edged goal in stoppage time for their
first three points of the Apertura Championship on Sunday.
Argentina's most decorated team have been in dire straits
for the last two years and in the local system of points
averages over three seasons to determine relegation they need
every win they can get to avoid the drop in May.
Former Argentina World Cup forward Ariel Ortega crossed
from the left and young striker Rogelio Funes Mori headed home
for a 1-0 win over Tigre, the team that crushed them 5-1 in the
final match of last season.
River were fortunate and had goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo,
back from a spell playing in Europe, to thank for keeping them
in the match but coach Angel Cappa claimed the win was
"I like winning and more so the way we did today, at the
end," said Cappa. "We deserved the victory and to have scored
more goals, but I'm aware we have to improve."
Tigre, direct rivals in the fight against relegation, did
not help their own cause by being too cautious in the second
half after a first 45 minutes in which they had the better of
River's Monumental stadium was packed with a crowd of about
River fans were anxious for, and ultimately a bit
disappointed with a first glimpse of the side rebuilt by Cappa,
who made nine signings during a long pre-season while the World
Cup was being played in South Africa.
Cappa praised his old guard of 36-year-olds Ortega and
former Parma and Lazio midfielder Matias Almeyda, who came back
last season from three years in lower division football.
"Almeyda had a colossal performance and Ortega was decisive
as always," Cappa told a post-match news conference.
Arch-rivals Boca Juniors, also looking to recover after a
poor 2009/10 season under new coach Claudio Borghi, needed an
equaliser from striker Lucas Viatri for a 1-1 draw away to
Godoy Cruz in the Andean city of Mendoza.
Title holders Argentinos Juniors, who won the Clausura
under Borghi in May, were upset 2-1 at home by Cappa's former
Juan Sebastian Veron netted a 71st minute penalty to give
Estudiantes a 1-0 away win over Newell's Old Boys in Rosario.
Alejandro Delorte headed a goal for promoted Olimpo against
Banfield after 22 seconds but the home side, who won last
season's Apertura in December for their first ever title,
recovered to win 2-1.
The strike was not as quick as the fastest goal in a top
flight match in Argentina, scored by Carlos Seppaquercia after
seven seconds for Gimnasia-La Plata against Huracan in 1979.
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