The second game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 2 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw Uruguay face Brazil. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting…
Uruguay 2-1 Brazil
CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 2 February 2017 (YouTube)
With a stoppage-time winner, Uruguay came from behind to beat Brazil to become the only side in the Hexagonal left with a 100 per cent record. Things had looked quite positive for their opponents in the 23rd minute when a David Neres pass found Guilherme Arana, who slid home past the goalkeeper for the lead. However, Uruguay got back into the match and were to have the majority of the chances; when they did find an equaliser, it came on the hour courtesy of a phenomenal long-range golazo from Rodrigo Amaral. Subsequently, Uruguay searched for the winner and were aided by two Brazil defenders getting sent off: Lucas Cunha in 67th minute and Lyanco in the 90th. Not too long after the second one, Facundo Waller hoisted a ball back upfield which Matías Viña managed to beat the goalkeeper to and dramatically win the game for Uruguay, who sit rather pretty atop the Hexagonal with six points.
Once again, praise can be heaped upon Rodrigo Amaral (No. 10, Nacional, Uruguay), who not only scored again but was more involved than he was against Argentina. In the 15th minute, he played through Nicolás Schiappacasse (No. 9, Atlético Madrid) into the area, though the latter’s shot from a slight angle was blocked out. Another chance was to be created from the subsequent corner as this was played in by Amaral and headed by defender Agustín Rogel (No. 18, Nacional) against the top of the crossbar. However, if you want something done properly, then sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself, as Amaral spectacularly demonstrated in the 60th minute to get Uruguay level. After Schiappacasse headed on a pass centrally some 30 yards out, Amaral quickly put the ball onto his left and let rip with a sensational golazo that went in off the far post – he is again joint top-scorer on five goals with Argentina’s Marcelo Torres. This goal didn’t stop him trying to get his team-mates on the scoresheet, however, as in the 70th minute his free-kick found the head of Rodrigo Bentancur (No. 20, Boca Juniors, Argentina), but alas, his effort went wide. Eight minutes later, perhaps a better chance was provided when he slid the ball to Schiappacasse on the left inside the area; the goalkeeper came out and the striker managed the squeeze the ball past him in to the middle, but unfortunately for the Uruguay striker, a defender’s block directed the ball back to the goalkeeper.
Nicolás De La Cruz (No. 11, Liverpool, Uruguay) was another man who wasn’t short of attempts to both score and gain an assist. His first effort came in the 11th minute when, from the left about 15 yards from the byline, he tried to curl an impossible right-footed shot; to his credit, he got a fair bit of power on it as it dipped awkwardly for the goalkeeper, who tipped over. In the 33rd minute, he controlled a ball on the edge of the area but his shot, always rising, went over. Ten minutes later, Schiappacasse nabbed the ball just outside the area and gave it to De La Cruz who, from the edge of the dee, curled a left-footed shot low that the goalkeeper saved. Much later in the 67th minute immediately after Brazil had suffered their first dismissal, De La Cruz took the subsequent free-kick from an inside-right position just outside the area; he managed to get a wicked bend on it with his right foot, causing the goalkeeper to tip over. Seven minutes later, José Rodríguez (No. 4, Danubio) on the right played a ball towards the area that deflected back to De La Cruz on the edge who whacked a left-footed effort that went not too far over. The last chance of note De La Cruz had was also the one with which he came closest; indeed, in the 86th minute, he won a free-kick about 22 yards out on the inside-right and managed to hit a right-footed effort that came back off the near post.
One other, lesser moment involving De La Cruz was the good work he did in the 75th minute shrugging off a challenge then passing on the edge of the area to a team-mate who had a low shot comfortably saved. This compatriot was Facundo Waller (No. 15, Plaza Colonia) who, once again, made some less ostentatious but all-the-same vital contributions. In the 71st minute he struck an audacious effort from 35 yards that dipped tantalisingly, though ultimately down into the roof of the net. However, in stoppage-time he truly came up with some goods as, from the halfway line, he hoisted the ball back to the edge of the area, which found Matías Viña (No. 17, Nacional). Profiting from a dreadfully out-of-place goalkeeper, Viña was able to easily slide home for the win and cause pandemonium amongst his team-mates, both on the pitch and at the sidelines.
New Ajax-signing David Neres (No. 11, Ajax) had a couple of moments of note. The first one occurred after nine minutes when a team-mate outjumped the Uruguayan goalkeeper to a chipped ball and it fell to Neres who controlled with his upper body before volleying wildly over, when there was only really a defender in his way. However, he made up for this some 15 minutes later when, from a central position, he played a fine left-footed through-ball that Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians) latched onto and then stroked home to give Brazil the lead. This was the second consecutive game in which Arana scored with Neres playing a role in his goal.
Compared to Uruguay though, Brazil barely had any other chances worth mentioning, with perhaps one minor exception being a 79th minute pass from Lucas Paqueta (No. 10, Flamengo) to Léo Jabá (No. 19, Corinthians) in the area, though his shot from an angle on the right went into the side-netting.
Otherwise, Brazil will be concerned that they will be going into their next game without two of their regular defenders, following the red cards to Lucas Cunha (No. 3, Braga, Portugal) and Lyanco (No. 4, São Paulo). Another worry will be the goalkeeping position, as the usual first-choice Caíque was dropped, presumably for some shaky moments in the preceding game as well as during some others. However, his replacement Lucas Perri (No. 1, São Paulo) was surely to blame for the Uruguay equaliser, as he was hopelessly out of position when Waller’s ball was pumped up to the edge of his area. Thus, a decision has to be made.
Otherwise, Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal will be on 5 February 2017 and the games shall be Brazil vs Venezuela, Uruguay vs Colombia and Ecuador vs Argentina – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com.
To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.