Hit first, the challenge that River pursues

How much is it worth to beat Colo Colo? Just three points? River he knows that the statistical answer to that question has nothing to do with conceptual return. Because a victory will allow you to score two objectives in the same night: qualifying for the round of 16 in first place, which will save them from the wear and tear of facing the most powerful in the group stage in the short term. A huge advantage even when this represents the possibility of having a superclassic cupbearer to define the ticket to the quarterfinals.

Although you must go in search of your goal in a context that is far from ideal: the internal outbreak of coronavirus, even without being as massive as in 2021, generated sports rebounds because it further limited the number of ABC1 alternatives available against a feisty rival, who offered a lot of resistance in Santiago and who also intends to recover positions to finish as #1.

That is why a victory would generate positive effects both at a sporting and emotional level. Although taking one point out of six possible River will secure his ball in the draw on May 27this will offer him no guarantees of pole position in Group F, Marcelo Gallardo’s biggest short-term goal.

Achieving it -winning tonight or drawing and defeating Alianza Lima next week at the Monumental- will avoid the risks that falling into hype 2 entails so far: cross paths with Palmeiras, Estudiantes, Flamengo -all of them classified first- and eventually with Corinthians and Mineirotighter but favorites in their respective groups.

In Santiago, River won but had to work to get the three points (EFE).

Winning the group does not imply, of course, a simple stage for the round of 16. But even though Colo Colo could be repeated in the next phase, the 2015 Libertadores stage could be reissued with a crossover with Boca or play an Argentine like Talleres for example, the challenge does not suppose the complexity that it would have to face one of the cuckoos.

Win or draw tonight, therefore, would be worth a lot. Even not only would it favor defining the majority as local (Palmeiras, Estudiantes and Flamengo today surpass it in points) but it would allow the team to equal the best mark of the MG cycle -the 13 points of the 2017 and 2020 editions- with the projection of surpassing such performances if a success against Alianza Lima is repeated (it will also be overcome with four points out of the six in dispute).

In any case, aspiring to it implies an important challenge for River 2022. A set that until now was not shown coupled and that he had enough ups and downs to suppose that Colo Colo will not be easy to overcome. Much less in the face of the significant absences of Armani Y Enzo Perez as foundations of the team -which will motivate, for example, the international debut of Ezequiel Centurión-, which are added to casualties due to injury Quintero Y Suarez who at another juncture would offer variety to unlock a close match as happened precisely against the Chileans in Santiago.

Armani, one of the heavyweights who will not be (Diego Haliasz/Prensa River).

Armani, one of the heavyweights who will not be (Diego Haliasz/Prensa River).

River needs to be again

plus points River will have to gain confidence. And get feedback from her to recover her physiognomy: so far, the team added even without justifying it with their performance.

The numbers of the semester are perhaps explained more by their forcefulness -Fernández’s medium-distance shots or the sense of smell of an isolated but dangerous Julián- than by their level.

If he intends to defeat the Chileans, River will have to reverse the image of the elimination against Tigre, when it was shown with little tonicity at the game level, without constancy in synchronization, with little fluidity. That is, without the distinctive features of this cycle. In fact, if he temporarily stayed in the game it was just because of a flash of individuality – read the great goal by Enzo F. that FIFA suggested for Puskas.

River needs, in full blow made in fourth wave, demonstrate that resilience capacity that highlighted the most winning era. If he beats Colo Colo, he will take a significant step. Athletically and emotionally. Because it will prove capable of getting ahead even without being at the top level. And he will secure a spot in the top 16 on the continent by qualifying first. And the one who hits first usually hits twice…