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Argentina's River Plate 90 minutes from relegation


Goals either side of halftime from midfielder Cesar Mansanelli and striker Cesar Pereyra gave the second-tier Nacional B side the victory that put them on the verge of a place in the top flight.


River, whose last title was in the second half of the 2007-08 season, find themselves in the dire situation as a result of their poor three-season points average that determines relegation in Argentina.


The match was interrupted for 20 minutes after River went two goals behind early in the second half. Some of their fans broke a hole in the perimeter fence and stormed onto the pitch in the city of Cordoba.


The fans remonstrated with their own team's players, demanding more effort from them, before being ejected and order was gradually restored.


Belgrano went ahead with a penalty converted by Mansanelli midway through the first half after defender Adalberto Roman handled at a corner.


They added the second five minutes into the second half when defender Luciano Lollo glanced Mansanelli's corner towards the far post where Pereyra turned it past goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo into the net.


Belgrano midfielder Franco Vazquez had a chance to bury River near the end when defender Jonatan Maidana slipped and lost possession but he hurried his shot over from the edge of the box.


River had dropped experienced strikers Mariano Pavone and Leandro Caruso in favour of youth, and while 37-year-old Matias Almeyda gave his all in the midfield holding position his lack of pace was often exposed.


River had several chances from free kicks, corners and long range shots but Belgrano goalkeeper Juan Carlos Olave was equal to them all, highlighted by a superb stop from Carlos Arano's drive.


They lost their shape, and their discipline, as the match wore. Captain Almeyda, Roman and defender Paulo Ferrari were booked and will miss the second leg through suspension having accumulated five yellow cards.


River need to get back on level terms in the return leg at the Monumental on Sunday and will survive with an aggregate draw as the result favours first division sides.




Relegation is a complicated thing in Argentina. The system they currently use was introduced in 1983 to stop River Plate from being relegated.


Relegation is based on an averaging system. At the end of each season, the two teams with the worst three-year averages are relegated, and the best two teams in the Primera B Nacional are promoted. The teams placed 17th and 18th in the average table play in a promotion/relegation playoff against the 4th and 3rd placed Primera B Nacional teams, respectively, in a two-tie decided on aggregate goals. Thus, the number of teams promoted each year varies between two and four. Newly-promoted teams only average the seasons since their last promotion.


Averaging was instituted in 1983, two years after San Lorenzo de Almagro were relegated in 1981. That year, River Plate finished 18th out of 19 teams and would have been relegated under the old system. Racing and Nueva Chicago were the first teams to be relegated on average. Boca Juniors was also struggling at that time and had a dismal 1984 season. These facts have led some to speculate that the averaging system was instituted to minimize the chance of large clubs being relegated, and indeed none of the five clubs considered to be the largest has been relegated again after 1983.




While River Plate are so close to going down I can't help but feel they will beat the drop in some way.

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Apparently the Belgrano fans are still in the ground as its too dangerous for them to leave. Sounds like chaos in and around the stadium.



Outside the ground is a war zone. Mounted police. Smoke bombs. Riots. Fans destroying the club's facilities. Setting fire to garbage bins
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That 'averaging' thing does seem like it's devised for the sole purpose of keeping the bigger teams, such as River Plate, in the top division.... and I had felt sorry for River until I read that, so, f**k 'em. No sympathy.

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gotta love the passion!


this went beyond passion. people were hurt and some seriously injured including police officers.


this is only football.


these people are extremely passionate about there club but their behaviour is that of spoiled f**king bairns. The OF are an example in our country, as soon as they start to lose its toys out of the pram.

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