Peñarol U20 Match Report vs Millonarios U20 (6/02/2022)

Peñarol and Millonarios met in the first match of group B for the Libertadores U20 2022. The Uruguayans set up in a 4-3-3 trying to put pressure in their own half on Millonarios until they realized that they were no threat in attack. From there Peñarol reduced their intensity waiting patiently and even then they knew how to get the ball quickly from the Colombians to easily beat them 2-0. Óscar Cruz scored both of the goals for Peñarol.

Youth Ratings

1 – Ready for the first team
2 – Good, potential to be first team
3 – Decent, could make first team squad
4 – Decent potential, unlikely to make it to first team
5 – Unlikely to make first team

Óscar Cruz

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Uruguayan
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 4/04/2002
  • Club: Peñarol
  • Career: Peñarol
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

The top scorer in the history of Peñarol’s youth academy had a game of few, but significant appearances. The striker is not the strongest and standing at 1.75m he usually wins duels with his pace. He played as the lone striker and was often positioned next to the last man of the Millonarios defence waiting for a through pass. However, the Uruguayan connected well with the wingers and sometimes went down to make one-twos with them or dragging marks to open gaps for the offensive midfielder Matías Ferreira displaying good decision making. Cruz is quite a skilled player mentally and technically and he has a great understanding of the game to know where to position himself in attacking situations. He wasn’t the most influential player in Peñarol’s possession game, but he showed a good first touch and acceleration on balls into space.

As his job was mostly off the ball, he was seen to move quite a bit on the front line and was quick to lose his mark as he was always alert for any opportunity to receive a dangerous pass to score. Despite not receiving as many balls as he would have hoped, he kept calm and was totally involved into the game mentally and thanks to that he scored twice in the two chances he had. The lack of concentration in the Millonarios defence was quite noticeable and Cruz was aware of this as he on many occasions entered the box without any mark and was able to anticipate for Ferreira’s cross in the 25th minute of the game scoring with a good header. Then, another cross from Mansilla’s feet which found Cruz comfortably positioned in the box, who scored the 2-0 with his left foot. Despite the weak opponents’ defence, the Uruguayan was able to use the spaces in his favour showing intelligence and composure in his movements, technique, and a goal-scoring prowess proper of a promising number 9.

Rating – 1

Cruz has that innate ability to be in the right place and at the right time to score goals, and I think he can be a contribution for the first team in view of Peñarol current situation, where what is the most needed are goals. His role may adapt very well in Peñarol system along with Agustín Álvarez but he clearly have to adapt to the Uruguayan First Division intensity and that could take time. The only thing that worries me a little is his lack of strength in a league as physical as the Uruguayan one. Anyway, it is known that Mauricio Larriera wants to give him some minutes on the first team and it’s clear why.

Brian Mansilla

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Uruguayan
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 14/05/2002
  • Club: CA Peñarol
  • Career: CA Peñarol
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

The Uruguayan youngster played as a left winger for Peñarol and was one of the most insistent players in attack. Mansilla liked to face his opponent until reaching the last third and although he won some duels dribbling, he used to do it more than necessary and lost some balls. His decisions could have been better in those situations to be more associative with his teammates. Nevertheless, the winger showed to be quite fast with his feet and was very good at changing directions at speed. He constantly ran into space and went forward whenever he could with the ball, trying to look for Cruz or the arrival of Matías Ferreira between the right back and centre back to break the defensive line of Millonarios.

Mansilla is not the strongest but he showed good balance, which combined with his decent height (1.78 m.) and acceleration makes it very difficult to take the ball from him in those circumstances. However he didn’t have it that easy against physical opponents when they pressed him, but was able to get his way most of the times. Mansilla has good ball control and made very quick moves in the final third knowing how to occupy the free spaces on the left flank. He also was good at anticipating in the box to wait for crosses from Méndez or Joaquín Ferreira, where he gave an assist. As the game progressed his intensity dropped, but he was always committed to his attacking mentality even when they were ahead and the rest of his teammates were falling back to keep possession. In that part of the game he insisted at looking for a way to lose his mark or show himself to his teammates further down the pitch to receive the ball. Although he lost some balls because of being selfish, there were a few occasions where he displayed creativity trying to find space on the right, looking for the winger or the left back arrival making good trough and crossed passes.

Rating – 3

Mansilla showed some potential and I think he could make it to the first team in the future, but he has to improve on his decisions since he sometimes rushes them.

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