Sunday, November 18, 2018

Gremio 1 River Plate 2 (2-2 agg): Martinez sends visitors into final in thriller

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 31 Oct 2018

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River Plate staged an incredible comeback to beat Gremio 2-1 and reach the Copa Libertadores final on Tuesday.

Gonzalo Martinez’s 95th-minute penalty at Arena do Gremio saw River move into the Libertadores final for the second time in four years.

He had earlier set up Rafael Santos Borre’s equaliser to cancel out Leo Gomes’ first-half strike in the semi-final second leg, River advancing on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Gremio substitute Bressan was sent off in the final moments after his handball led to Martinez’s winning spot-kick.

River, who suffered a 1-0 loss at home in the first leg, were the better side in the opening half-hour.

However, they fell behind in unfortunate circumstances in the 36th minute.

A deflected corner fell nicely to Leo Gomes, whose strike from the edge of the area also took a touch off a defender on its way into the bottom corner.

As River pushed for a way back into the encounter, Gremio had a great chance to seal their win after the hour-mark, but Everton was denied in a one-on-one with Franco Armani.

Instead, River pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute, Borre heading in a free-kick from Martinez.

But there was more drama to follow as River were awarded a penalty for a handball in the area, with the help of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Replays showed Ignacio Scocco’s strike hit the outstretched hand of Bressan, who was shown a second yellow card in the 88th minute.

The spot-kick was finally taken seven minutes later, Martinez sending Marcelo Grohe the wrong way to put River into the final in incredible fashion.

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