The second game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 3 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw Uruguay face Colombia. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting…
Uruguay 3-0 Colombia
CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 5 February 2017 (YouTube)
Uruguay booked their place at the U-20 World Cup with a comfortable victory against Colombia. They had the bulk of the chances and first took advantage of one in the 41st minute when Facundo Waller dinked an effort over the goalkeeper from outside the area. The second goal came in the 65th minute when striker Nicolás Schiappacasse clinically finished off a fine move. Colombia’s best chance of note came just over five minutes afterwards but this was squandered and thus, five minutes after a red card was awarded to Cafeteros’ Jhon Balanta, Uruguay put the result beyond doubt in the 83rd minute. Indeed, Nicolás De La Cruz was fouled in the area and then picked himself up to make it 3-0 with his spot-kick. Thus, Uruguay will be off to South Korea in May and currently lead this competition handsomely with a 100 per cent record after three Hexagonal games.
Nicolás De La Cruz (No. 11, Liverpool, Uruguay) again shone and the rumours of Barcelona watching him appear entirely plausible to anyone who has seen him during this tournament. He scored his third goal of the competition with an 83rd-minute penalty which sneaked in off the post and he also had at least a couple of other attacking moments of note in the game. For example, in the 33rd minute, from a second opportunity to do so, he put in a perfect cross for Carlos Benavidez (No. 8, Defensor Sporting), yet from barely four yards out the latter headed over. Later on in the 59th minute, De La Cruz set up another great chance, this time from the right as he slid the ball to Agustín Canobbio (No. 19, Fénix) who struck from an angle inside the area, though saw his shot parried.
Subsequently, the ball fell to Facundo Waller (No. 15, Plaza Colonia) who perhaps should have scored, but instead sliced his shot over. However, he had at least already managed to get on the scoresheet when he got the opening goal after 41 minutes; here, Rodrigo Bentancur (No. 20, Boca Juniors, Argentina) slid Waller the ball on the edge of the area and, benefiting from a slight bobble, he scooped a strike over the opposition goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
The second goal after 65 minutes was a fine team move involving many of the players mentioned so far. Indeed, on the halfway line, De La Cruz helped the ball on to Bentancur who, in turn, gave it to Canobbio some 30 yards out. He played in Nicolás Schiappacasse (No. 9, Atlético Madrid) on the left side of the area who did well to first control with his left, then clinically strike home with his right boot to make it 2-0.
Schiappacasse also had a role in Uruguay’s first opportunity of the game in the third minute, dinking back a pass to Rodrigo Amaral (No. 10, Nacional, Uruguay) into the area, but the latter’s effort from an angle ended up in the side-netting. However, not too long afterwards, Amaral did create a couple of opportunities for team-mates, first of all Agustín Rogel (No. 18, Nacional) from a fine 11th-minute free-kick, though the latter didn’t make a proper connection with his header and it went over. Then, in the 19th minute, Amaral slid forward a nice pass for Bentancur, yet despite being around the edge of the area and managing to gain space from his marker, his shot was fired over the bar.
Perhaps it was the deflation of losing in the last minute against Argentina that affected their performance here but Colombia never really got going and hardly created any chances of note.
17-year-old golden boy Juan ‘El Cucho’ Hernández (No. 10, América de Cali, on loan from Granada, Spain) perhaps had his side’s best chance, though this didn’t occur until the 71th minute. Previously, he had managed one of very few other attempts when, in the 51st minute, he controlled the ball inside the area before striking comfortably wide. The effort with 19 minutes was somewhat more substantial, with Kevin Balanta (No. 8, Deportivo Cali) dancing past some opponents before sliding the ball to Hernández on the left inside the area, but alas, he struck his shot hard into the side-netting when the circumstances demanded a goal.
The low possibility of Colombia getting back into the game wasn’t helped by the red card awarded to Jhon Balanta (No. 18, Universitario Popayán) with 12 minutes remaining. They did, however, have one last shot in stoppage-time when Ever Valencia (No. 13, Atlético Bucaramanga) took aim from 25 yards out but alas, the Uruguayan goalkeeper did well to parry wide.
Thus, Colombia must regroup, though with just one point from three games, their World Cup qualification prospects are not looking promising.
Otherwise, Matchday 4 of the Hexagonal will be on 8 February 2017 and the games shall be Ecuador vs Colombia, Uruguay vs Venezuela and Brazil 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.