Marcelo Gallardo is gunning for a tenth title as River Plate manager, a haul that would take him one clear of Ramón Díaz as Los Millonarios most successful manager of all-time, but on Wednesday evening in Curitiba his side produced one of their weakest performances to slip to defeat against Athletico Paranaense.
The tone for a frantic first half played at break-neck speed was set within a minute when former River midfielder Lucho González burst forward and stung the palms of Franco Armani from distance. Gallardo’s River, so often the side whose intense pressing strangles the life out of opposition, were on the receiving end of similar treatment and unable to string passes together it was Athletico in the ascendency.
Nikão had spurned one glorious one-on-one chance when midway through the first half the home side broke the deadlock and it was no surprise that it full-back Renan Lodí was…
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