In one of the strangest nights in Copa Libertadores' history, River Plate could barely field eleven players to face Independiente Santa Fe and had to start a defensive midfield, Enzo Pérez, in goal. It was the first time that El Millonario fielded an outfield player as their goalkeeper.
Last weekend, a covid outbreak struck Marcelo Gallardo's side just hours before the Superclásico clash against Boca Juniors in the Argentine Copa de la Liga Profesional. Not only they've lost the derby, but five more players tested positive after that game, ruling out 20 players for the continental matchup.
With those absences, River were suddenly left with roughly eleven eligible players to host Santa Fe. With all their goalkeepers isolated, and after Conmebol rejected their request to add two reserve goalies, Enzo Pérez, who wasn't at full fitness, put on the gloves and fans went wild on social media.
River Plate shock Santa Fe while having an outfield player in goal
Soccer fans were ready to watch the game hoping to laugh at Pérez dressed as a goalkeeper and eager to see how the hosts dealt with such an awkward lineup. However, everyone was shocked as River Plate had a strong start and scored twice only six minutes into the game.
What's worst, the Colombian team has never taken advantage of El Millonario's hardships and Enzo Pérez spent a quiet game without having to make any big effort. Just the scenes of him wearing the gloves and standing in the goal were hilarious enough, let alone watching how comfortable he seemed against a non-threatening opponent. Fans all over the Internet made the best of it and shared funny memes.
River Plate overcame one of the toughest circumstances a team could face nowadays. They have suffered a massive covid outbreak that almost left them without a full lineup, and even though their goalkeeper was an outfield player, they claimed the three points and turned a worrying situation into an unforgettable chapter in South American soccer history.