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Sport Huancayo had a really strong start to the season. They progressed to the second round of the Copa Sudamericana, reached the Torneo de Verano final, and played some of the best football in the league.
So what happened?
They finished 10th in the Apertura and are set to finish around that range again in the Clausura. Huancayp’s home form has become atrocious and usually only win away against some of the weaker teams. Here are a few reasons as to why they have not been too good as of late.
Marcelo Grioni is a great manager, but he’s been making a lot of mistakes as of late.
First off, he’s been consistently suspended. He’s mostly in the stands and isn’t on the touchline too often, which doesn’t help.
The biggest issue has to be his lineups, though. He had a very consistent starting 11 in the Torneo de Verano, but now he’s not content with anything. Carlos Neumann and Rodrigo Colombo almost always start, yet the rest seem to drift in and out of the team. Marcos Lliuya and Marcio Valverde, the second and third-best players on the team, don’t always make the cut.
This has disrupted the flow of play for Huancayo, and unfortunately Grioni is the main culprit for this. Again, he’s not a bad coach but this is the most limited squad he’s had in Peru, and perhaps his style is managing more technically gifted squads.
Neumann is the only goal-scorer
This is perhaps the most obvious problem for Sport Huancayo.
Besides Carlos Neumann, no one scores goals or even has a good record prior to this season. Luis Trujillo had the odd golazo or long-range free kick in the past, but otherwise, only Neumann is on the scoresheet.
Neumann is on 25 goals and the second leading scorer, Valverde, has eight. The rest have five or fewer.
Joaquin Boghossian has been a disappointment for the most part. He was brought in to be Neumann’s backup, but has failed to impress. At least until recent matches, where he has begun to step up.
Lliuya is not exactly a goalscorer and never has been. He has always been a supportive player with a lot of flair, great dribbling ability and good vision. But again, he is far from a reliable goal-scorer.
Decline of Marcos Lliuya
At the start of the year, Lliuya was unplayable. He ran circles around any defence he would come up against and perhaps his biggest flaw was his final pass, which would generally be poor. However, he had a very good duo with Carlos Neumann. So good that it rivalled the Gabriel Costa – Emanuel Herrera partnership at Sporting Cristal.
Neumann is still playing very well, but Marcos Lliuya? Not so much.
Lliuya hasn’t shown as much flair and has been quite lazy overall. His final pass hasn’t gotten better either, and he’s become almost a ghost in most games.
Since he was bought up by El Rojo Matador from Sport Victoria, Lliuya has been excellent. But this has been his worst year if we omit the Torneo de Verano.
Loss of Charles Monsalvo
Sport Huancayo earlier in the year sacked the Colombian. Monsalvo was angry at Grioni for subbing him out in a match against Deportivo Municipal in the Torneo de Verano, and it could have affected the team.
Monsalvo had clear talent, and he offered a lot to the team. Since his departure, Huancayo have not been the same and even though he didn’t get a ton of playing time, he put in good performances when given an opportunity.
It’s perhaps not the most obvious reason, but it does beg the question: did Monsalvo’s departure affect the fluidity of the team?
New signings have not made a difference
Boghossian was the marquee signing of the winter, and as mentioned earlier, he has failed to make a difference. Sport Huancayo needed another forward similar to Neumann to maintain the same system if he was injured. Huancayo got the right player, but has failed to make a difference.
Boghossian is a lot slower, and a lot worse at heading the ball. It seems most of his headers have no direction, and he’s also lazy. In the past few matches, he has begun to score a bit more, with two of his three goals coming in the last four games.
Then there is Alexis Rojas, who seemed like an exciting signing for both the player and the club, but has also failed to make a difference.
Victor Peña is the other player who plays on the right and he’s quite mediocre, too. Nothing outstanding, but can sometimes create a moment of magic.
Rojas got some game time in 2016 and 2017 for Cristal, and impressed in a few appearances. This was his chance to really put on a show for his parent club to consider him. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to do so. There are only flashes of quality and no end result. Similar to Reimond Manco.