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This was a bizarre weekend for Peruvians abroad. Nobody really stood out, yet there were no flat performances, either. That might be a symptom of having just nine players in action over the weekend.
However, there were some interesting revelations involving the likes of Yoshimar Yotún and Miguel Trauco. Yotún is in a battle to win a place in the Cruz Azul midfield while Trauco might stay put in Brazil when the transfer window shuts.
Here is your weekly in-depth roundup on nine different Peruvians abroad.
Feast your eyes on this run and sumptuous assist from Luis Advíncula.
That proved decisive as Rayo Vallecano notched a third consecutive win, this time over Celta Vigo. Advíncula was also tenacious in recovering possession in the attacking third, which helped create a few other dangerous chances on the right flank.
Defensively, there were a few occasions when Advíncula was beaten on the dribble. That’s become a theme in recent games and something he needs to solve quickly.
Anderson Santamaría learned how to jockey, so that’s a positive.
He also shouldn’t be lunging in like this.
Then again, if you can execute tackles like these…
All in all, this was Santamaría’s most solid defensive performance at club level since the summer. He had four interceptions, two tackles and six ball recoveries. Surely he’ll only improve from here.
Al-Hilal’s 1-1 draw with Al-Raed was a grind, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see André Carrillo struggling to impose himself.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Al-Raed stayed very compact and that made it difficult for Al-Hilal’s dynamic attackers to create any separation. Carrillo just couldn’t get a rhythm.
Thankfully Pedro Aquino was back on the pitch after he was carted off last week with a suspected muscular injury.
León must’ve been happy to see their Peruvian midfielder starting because he was majestic against Monterrey, the club who sold Aquino to León last year.
Aquino certainly impressed against his former club. He controlled the tempo of the game nicely and was absolutely everywhere on the pitch.
Those are ridiculous numbers, by the way. Fifteen ball recoveries? Even against a high-pressing team, that takes an absurd amount of stamina to pull off. Well done, Pedro.
Iván Marcone, one of the catalysts for Cruz Azul’s run to the Apertura final, was sold to Boca Juniors. That means Yoshimar Yotún’s role in the midfield is solidified, right?
Wrong. Cruz Azul is interested in replacing Marcone with 22-year-old Stephan Eustáquio from Chaves. Matías Kranevitter and Gonzalo Escalante are also linked. That could just be Pedro Caixinha pushing for depth in quality, but that still spells trouble for Yotún.
The 28-year-old was a second-half substitute in Cruz Azul’s defeat to Chivas and was placed in the midfield. Yotún was a left-back in the opener versus Puebla, so at least Caixinha was willing to slot the Peruvian into the middle.
Whether that changes after Cruz Azul sign another midfielder, though, is another question entirely.
Normally I don’t include pre-season friendlies, but this is a special exception.
Flamengo was in Orlando to participate in the Florida Cup and we might’ve seen the rebirth of Miguel Trauco’s career at the club. Just when it appeared that he was heading to San Lorenzo, Trauco started the final against Frankfurt and played the entire second half versus Ajax on Thursday.
To his credit, Trauco performed well in both games. He was incredibly dangerous in the final against Frankfurt – who were playing with 10 men after the 25th minute – but that’s huge progress for the Peruvian left-back.
Our other (occasional) Peruvians abroad correspondent Brian Bertie watched Trauco against Frankfurt and had a pretty glowing review.
Miguel Trauco has been great here. Everytime he picks up the ball he does something dangerous. Whether it's a long pass or a through ball starting a counter.
Frankfurt are with 10 men and have been awful. Flamengo just scored the first 5 minutes before the half.#FloridaCup
— Brian Bertie (@B_Bertie98) January 12, 2019
Of course, this can change but it’s positive to see Trauco performing well in pre-season when he appeared destined for a move elsewhere. Maybe he can salvage a place in the side under new coach Abel Braga.
I don’t want to jinx it, but Sergio Peña looked brilliant in a deep-lying midfield role for Tondela this weekend.
Peña completed 42 of his 48 passes and won nine of his 16 duels. That included four very timed tackles.
The passing, though…
In total, Peña only misplaced one long pass out of 13 attempts. Sure, it was only Chaves, but that’s a remarkable number for a player who looked lost in that role back in October.
Once again, Edison Flores moved centrally to make way for his countryman Ray Sandoval.
Not that Flores was complaining. This gives him more freedom to drift across the pitch and that means he can pop up at any time to create a chance.
Unfortunately, Monarcas Morelia does not have a reliable No. 9. Other than Flores and the occasional contribution from Sandoval, nobody is able to test the opposition goalkeeper. Morelia finished the game with only five shots.
Sandoval was pretty invisible after a strong start to the match on Sunday night. But like last week, it’s easy to contain the opposition when you’re the only recognizable threat.