Primera Division

Week 9 Clausura Roundup: Universitario out of relegation trouble?

Featured Image: Trome

San Martín 1-0 Sport Boys

Universidad San Martín kept Sport Boys at bay. Even though San Martín held the majority of possession, the men in pink pushed the pace and had many opportunities. Unfortunately for Boys, these opportunities were missed or denied by the strong goalkeeping of Daniel Ferreyra. It finally took a succession of bang-bang touches by Sául Salas and Gary Correa onto Christian Ortiz, who angled the ball into the upper corner of the goal to secure the win. San Martín keeps itself in the overall hunt, while Sport Boys now flirt with the dreaded relegation zone.

Comerciantes Unidos 1-0 Real Garcilaso

A lock to be relegated at the end of the season, Comerciantes Unidos is demonstrating that it can play at the highest level after all. Although it’s too little, too late, Comerciantes has reached peak form, winning four of its last five matches. They seem to be relishing the role of spoiler, too.

This time, the victim was Real Garcilaso. This was a trap game for Garcilaso, as they might have been caught looking ahead to Week 10’s matchup with Melgar. Comerciantes’ goal came in the 44th minute on a high drive from Jesús Serrano over two of the tallest players on the pitch, goalkeeper Luis Ortiz and a bewildered Gustavo Dulanto.

Universitario 2-0 Sport Rosario

Universitario decided it did not like being in the relegation conversation. Now with four straight wins, La U has solidified itself in the middle of the Clausura table, much to the delight of the boisterous Barra Oriente and Trinchera Norte. Now the conversation has switched to whether they can catch a flailing UTC in the aggregate table and qualify for Copa Sudamerica.

The match itself was a bit sloppy in the first half. Rosario had the most pressure early, but La U took over once Carlos Beltrán was sent off after receiving his second booking in 27 minutes. A bad clearance attempt by Rosario defender Erick Rossi led to a late first-half goal by Pablo Lavandeira, a shot which bounced off both posts to put the game to rest. Universitario added an insurance marker on a brilliant header from the always impressive Germán Denis.

Unión Comercio 4-2 Sport Huancayo

A battle of two middle-of-the-pack Clausura teams ended up in a goal-scoring frenzy. The goals came early with a nice rebounded shot by Unión Comercio’s Carlos Preciado. A handball by Sport Huancayo in the penalty area led to Willyan Mimbela’s penalty. Goalkeeper Joel Pinto made a diving save to his left, but Mimbela followed his attempt and chipped in the rebound. Huancayo defender Richard Salinas pulled down Preciado in the box, which led to a Huancayo spot kick. Unlike Mimbela, Waldir Calderón didn’t miss his shot. Later, a bad clearance by Pinto led to an open shot and a goal for Reimond Manco.

After two consecutive losses, Unión Comercio has righted the ship. Meanwhile, Huancayo is floundering and continues to drop valuable points. Still, Comercio is fighting relegation and is three points ahead of Sport Rosario.

UTC 0-1 Alianza Lima

Alianza Lima returned to winning ways, but it was not a dominating performance. Still, the effort was enough to garner three points in Cajamarca.

UTC threatened early but Alianza’s veteran goalkeeper, Leao Butrón, stood strong and got some lucky breaks on shots that missed their mark. At the other end, Peru international José Carvallo made some smart plays and more than his share of diving stops, the most impressive on a long strike by the youngster Kevin Quevedo in the 26th minute. Alianza then began the second half with high intensity. Fancy footwork by Quevedo, a subsequent pass to Alejandro Hohberg – who crossed a nice ball to the head of Mauricio Affonso – found its way into the back of the net, much to the delight of coach Pablo Bengoechea and the club’s ubiquitous fans.

Ayacucho 3-0 Binacional

A no-doubter from the start for teams headed in opposite directions. Binacional is now merely punching the time-clock. Ayacucho, however, is back to its winning ways with its first victory in three games to stay four points adrift of league-leading Melgar in the Clausura.

Binacional’s lack of offensive threat put the burden on its defence, which is just as weak. A penalty by Mauricio Montes in the 52nd minute that sailed far over the crossbar didn’t deter Ayacucho. A hard-fought goal by Robert Ardiles on 66 minutes and a weak effort by goalkeeper Michael Sotillo on a soft shot by Cristian Mejía sealed the deal for Ayacucho.

Cantolao 0-3 Sporting Cristal

Aggregate leader and perennial favorite, Sporting Cristal, cruised to victory in Callao. Gabriel Costa added his 22nd goal of the year early in the match, while the Descentralizado’s leading scorer, Emanuel Herrera, tallied a brace only minutes apart, his 33rd and 34th goals of the year. Goal-scorer in his own right, Fabían González of Cantolao, was held scoreless.

Costa’s goal was an opportunistic goal-mouth tally, while Cantolao wasn’t without opportunities. Leandro Martín had a few attempts, the most notable of which came on the half-hour mark with a bending free kick leaving Cristal’s Patricio Ȧlvarez rooted to the spot. However, the ball smacked the post. Herrera’s first goal of the match came off a driving penalty, thanks to Costa drawing a foul against Gerson Berreto in the area. His second nutmegged defender Franco Otárola and rolled past goalkeeper Federico Nicosia. The Herrera-Costa combination once again slayed the opposition. They make it look so easy.

Melgar 1-0 Deportivo Municipal

Clausura-leading Melgar has already punched its ticket for at least a stint in Copa Sudamerica, but the squad is doing all it can to ensure its qualification for Copa Libertadores. They are 11 points ahead of Alianza Lima and show no signs of relinquishing that place.

There was no letdown for Melgar in this game against a highly competitive team in Deportivo Municipal. The action was dominated by Melgar with them keying in on Christofer Gonzales, who had numerous opportunities. He factored in the winning goal with a strong cross across the goal mouth to a sliding Joao Villamarín in the 61st minute which proved to be the game winner. A late surge by Municipal was thwarted by Diego Penny and the stellar Melgar defence.

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