Featured Image: Trome
With more domestic leagues wrapping up, fewer Peruvian players are in action as the holidays approach. But there are still a handful of Peruvians abroad who continue to shine as 2018 comes to an end.
Cristian Benavente is still scoring with ease in Belgium and Jefferson Farfán struck in the Moscow derby for Lokomotiv Moscow. Christian Cueva, Christian Ramos and Sergio Peña were also involved for their respective clubs over the weekend.
With that in mind, here’s a complete breakdown of each player’s performance.
You would think that most Belgian clubs would’ve learned that allowing Cristian Benavente to exploit acres of open space is a death wish.
In Cercle Brugge’s defence, this run from Benavente before his goal was beautifully executed.
The change of pace was fantastic, and the finish was not easy, either. Benavente had a defender closing him down and the goalkeeper tried to cut off the angle at the same time.
Benavente’s assist might’ve been even better than the goal, just because of the amount of ground he covered.
The 24-year-old should’ve had another assist and the through ball alone was deserving of a goal.
What’s shocking is Benavente wasn’t that involved in the attack. He only attempted 17 passes and a couple of dribbles in his 73 minutes on the pitch. Yet he managed to open the scoring and wrap up the win for Charleroi.
As long as he’s producing the goods, that’s all that matters for Benavente right now.
Lokomotiv Moscow lost 2-1 to Spartak Moscow in the local derby on Sunday, although Jefferson Farfán helped spark a late surge for Lokomotiv.
With Spartak reduced to 10 men in the second half, Farfán struck – almost out of nowhere – to pull Lokomotiv within a goal in the 79th minute.
Watching this goal made me do a double take because I thought I travelled back to 2009, when Farfán executed this on the regular.
It can’t be a coincidence that Farfán thrived when he drifted into the centre. He was deployed as a right winger and was quite strong with his distribution, but lacks the quickness to burst past defenders. That’s why most of his passes were lateral.
I’ve spoken at length about Farfán moving back into a false nine role because that’s when Lokomotiv surged to the top of the table in Russia. Unfortunately, that isn’t likely to happen this season.
It wasn’t a perfect 64 minutes for Christian Cueva in Krasnodar’s 2-0 win over FC Ural, but there were some very bright moments.
This, for example, should’ve been a goal.
On the other hand, Cueva was spraying passes across the pitch in a free role. He never really stuck to a specific area on the field, which is how he should be deployed and the results showed.
Cueva was consistently pinging in these passes into the box. If the other forwards were more clinical, the Peruvian would’ve been lauded for his performance on Sunday.
Thankfully, Cueva has started back-to-back matches after logging 71 minutes in Krasnodar’s 2-1 win over Akhisar in the Europa League. This has coincided with a switch to a 4-2-3-1 system, which obviously benefits the Peruvian.
Sergio Peña was deployed in a box-to-box role for Tondela in their 3-2 defeat to Portimonense, but was actually decent in a slightly unfamiliar position.
Peña’s distribution was decent enough. Even when a pass didn’t come off, the idea was well-executed.
What was most encouraging was Peña’s dribbling. He is best suited to play in a position where he’s able to hold onto the ball and exploit small pockets of space. The 23-year-old finished the match with five completed dribbles in the match.
Al-Wehda may have defeated Christian Ramos’ Al-Nassr, but the Peruvian defender was immense in the 2-1 loss.
No other Al-Nassr player completed more tackles than Ramos (4) and he also hit 53 of his 57 passes. Ramos also won every single defensive duel and was immense in the air.
There were still some concerns regarding Ramos’ ability to defend players on the counter-attack, as Al-Wehda had a few opportunities to exploit the Peruvian, but there’s no doubting his calming presence at the back.