Cristian Ferreira spared River Plate’s blushes with a stunning stoppage-time free-kick against Alianza Lima to earn a dramatic 1-1 draw for the Copa Libertadores champions on matchday one.
Ferreira came off the bench and curled a set-piece past Pedro Gallese in the 96th minute as the Libertadores winners opened their title defence with a last-gasp draw in Lima on Wednesday.
Crowned champions ahead of bitter Argentine rivals Boca Juniors following a controversial final last season, River fell behind to Alianza Lima in their Group A opener.
An unmarked Jose Manzaneda pounced for the Peruvian hosts in the 31st minute with a cool finish on the edge of the six-yard box.
River had the chance to equalise with 10 minutes remaining but Rafael Santos Borre saw his spot-kick pushed onto the post by Gallese, who was unable to keep out Ferreira’s late free-kick.
— River Plate (@CARPoficial) March 7, 2019
Elsewhere in Group A, Brazilian side Internacional beat Palestino 1-0 on the road in Chile, where Rafael Sobis’ 83rd-minute goal proved the difference.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras started their Group F campaign with a 2-0 victory over Junior.
One of the favourites this season following the arrivals of Ricardo Goulart and Carlos Eduardo, Palmeiras won in Colombia thanks to goals from Gustavo Scarpa and Marcos Rocha.
The match of the day was between Sporting Cristal and Universidad Concepcion, who prevailed 5-4 courtesy of four-goal hero Patricio Rubio.
Rubio – who opened the scoring in the first half and added another three goals following the break – settled the stunning shoot-out with a 93rd-minute winner for the Chilean hosts in Group C.
In other results, Gremio drew 1-1 at Rosario Central in Group H, Nacional were 1-0 winners against Zamora and Atletico Mineiro went down 1-0 at home to Cerro Porteno.
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