Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Argentina: River Plate to play-off against relegation (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 19, 2011

So it has come down to this for Argentina’s most successful club at domestic level. River Plate, who have amassed 33 domestic championships in their illustrious history, will have to play two matches against second division Club Atlético Belgrano in order to avoid slipping outside Argentina’s top-flight for the first time in their history.

It has been well documented that River Plate, just like many clubs within the Argentinian football league, have suffered an assortment of difficulties both on and off the pitch in recent years but the club’s current plight is perhaps the lowest they’ve been since their foundation in 1901. Although River Plate finished in the top half of the table during the 2010-11 Torneo Clausura, which finishes this weekend, it is for their performances over the last three seasons which has seen them fall into trouble. Argentina’s first division sees an average points spread over the last six championships (three full seasons) determine who goes down at the end of each season. Even River’s great rivals Boca Juniors have had to flirt with the idea over the last couple of seasons as their performances have also been way below their high standards but they always just avoided being sucked into the mire.

The sad thing for River is that they had their destiny in their own hands going into Saturday’s final league game at home to CA Lanús. A win would’ve seen Los Millionarios avoid the relegation play-off scrap altogether but their 2-1 defeat, coupled with Club Olimpo’s 1-0 win over already relegated Quilmes, saw Olimpo scrape above River by 0.141 points thus ensuring their survival. The trauma for River was made worse by the fact that Lanús scored the winning goal three minutes into stoppage time which allowed the home supporters to vent their frustration as the demoralised players left the field.

River and Gimnasia de La Plata will be involved in play-offs whilst Quilmes and Huracán have been relegated automatically.



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