Rosario Central saw defeat in the first leg of the quarter-finals in the Copa Sudamericana. Against Red Bull Bragantino at home, they lost 3-4 despite coming back from a 1-3 deficit. The Argentinian side set up in a 4-1-3-2 with a clear intent to play attacking football and not sit deep against the better side on paper. Rosario Central mostly relied on crosses from the wing to create any danger in front of Red Bull Bragantino’s goal. However, after twenty minutes Rosario Central was already two goals down as Bruno Praxedes scored a header after an Artur cross from the right-wing and Artur also converted a penalty after Facundo Almada made a foul in the box. Marco Ruben quickly scored the 1-2 after a good cross from the right side by Damian Martinez.
Artur scored the 1-3 just before half-time after Tomas Cuello put in a really good cross, similar to Artur’s cross for the 0-1, and that was the score at half-time. Rosario Central came out of the dressing room flying and scored two quick goals after half-time. Lautaro Blanco, partly responsible for Red Bull Bragantino’s goals, provided two assists from the left-wing. Cleiton did not look good for the 3-3 as he should have come off his line. However, after two goals and one assist, Artur was not finished. Facundo Almada made another mistake and Artur was through on goal and did not hesitate. Rosario Central was looking for the equalizer in the last few minutes but never looked like they were going to score the equalizer.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Argentinian
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 30/09/2001
- Club: Boca Juniors
- Career: Rosario Central (Y), Boca Juniors, Rosario Central (L), Boca Juniors
- Position: Centre Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Gastón Ávila played as a left central defender in a back four for Rosario Central in the quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana against Red Bull Bragantino. The Argentine stands at 1,82m with a muscular build. The central defender has good acceleration and is capable of maintaining that speed over long distances. Ávila is a very mobile defender with decent athletic ability, as he is agile and has good changes of direction. The 20-year-old attacks the ball very well in both defensive and attacking aerial duels and has a great leap. However, there were multiple occasions where Ávila showed bad awareness when dealing with crosses. Ávila should scan more often in the box and position himself better, cutting passing lanes or staying closer to his direct opponent. In the late stages of the game, as Rosario Central were chasing an equalizer, Gastón Ávila showed a lack of composure as he overcommitted in a handful of 1v1 duels. With that being said, Ávila showed good determination and perseverance to sprint back. He has very good stamina and recovery speed.
During the times that Gastón Ávila builds out from the back, he likes to carry the ball forward and play an aerial, diagonal long pass towards the right-wing. His long passing was quite inconsistent in this match, but his technique is very good and almost seems a bit careless to a certain extent. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it shows his confidence with the ball at his feet and willingness to progress the ball further up the pitch. The Argentinian defender has good vision and is also capable of playing long passes over the ground, breaking lines. However, he sometimes plays awkward, bouncy passes into the attack which are quite hard to control. After intercepting a pass, Ávila does well to stay composed even when he gets put under pressure. Additionally, he reads the situation well and knows when to go for a no-nonsense clearance.
Gastón Ávila is quite an attacking-minded central defender, which has both positive and negative sides to it. Starting off with the positive side, his progressive thinking sometimes helps Ávila to force his opponent backwards as he immediately puts his opponent under pressure when he receives the ball or to even intercept the pass as he already read where the pass was going. But, when he would face a smarter opponent this could lead to him being caught out of position as there is a lot of space to run into as Ávila runs out of position when trying to intercept passes. The central defender sometimes steps out of the defensive line when he shouldn’t and is sometimes caught out of position, as he can be found too high up the pitch occasionally. Ávila also likes to join the attack occasionally without really thinking of Rosario Central’s structure.
Rating – A2
Based on this match, I do not think that Gastón Ávila was a leading player for Rosario Central and that he still makes a few mistakes. With that being said, I think that Ávila is a really promising defender. Even though he is relatively small for a central defender, he has good technical, athletic and physical ability. His good leap and determination help him in aerial duels. I think he needs to improve on the tactical aspect both on and off the ball, but with good guidance, he could become a really good central defender that is an interesting target for clubs like Benfica, Porto, Sporting, Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. He was linked with Ajax before and he could potentially be a good backup for Lisandro Martínez. It also must be noted that this match was from August 2021, which is seven months ago.
- Nationality: Argentinian
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 19/02/1999
- Club: Rosario Central
- Career: Rosario Central (Y)
- Position: Left-Back
- Secondary position: Left Midfield
- Preferred foot: Left
Lautaro Blanco played as a left-back for Rosario Central in the quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana against Red Bull Bragantino and provided two assists for the hosts, but was also partly responsible for the goals that Rosario Central conceded. Standing at 1,76m with a toned build, Lautaro Blanco is quite athletic. He has decent agility and changes of directions. Blanco also has decent footwork and balance. The left-back has sufficient acceleration and pace, but Artur is a lot faster and that was proven in this game. Lautaro Blanco can be a bit too passive when Rosario Central is in possession in the final third. With his crossing technique, I think Blanco should be way more active in trying to make over- and underlapping runs to get in the situation where he can use his good (but inconsistent) crosses. There was quite some space in some situations, but Blanco did not exploit this.
He gave Artur too much space to cross for the opening goal of Red Bull Bragantino. The Argentinian defender looked at the ball well, but was not composed enough and did not position himself well. He should have blocked the passing line for Artur’s left foot, but instead, he blocked his right foot. Moreover, Lautaro Blanco failed to track Artur’s run and lost him occasionally. The Brazilian was dangerous with his runs in behind and Blanco did not deal with that properly. One of those situations led to the penalty for Red Bull Bragantino, which was converted by Artur. He was not positively involved for Bragantino’s third goal as well, not tracking the run and movement of Artur in the box and allowing him to score from very close range. However, Lautaro Blanco did well to stay in the backline when Gastón Ávila stepped up.
Lautaro Blanco looked uninspiring in attacking 1v1 duels, as he failed to get past his opponent multiple times as he was indecisive and did not make his move in a high tempo. His playing style and strengths mostly rely on his crosses from deep and from the byline. He has a good crossing technique, but his delivery was very inconsistent in this match. In the end, Blanco managed to provide two assists for Rosario Central but he was slightly lucky with those two assists. Marco Ruben scored a bicycle kick and for Blanco’s second assist, Cleiton should have come off his line to claim the cross. His short passing was good and consistent but often backwards. He got a bit heated in the late stages of the game and showed this frustration in the ground duels with Artur, pushing him to the ground and giving away a foul.
Rating – A2
I think that River Plate, Boca Juniors or a good side in the MLS could be a future destination for Lautaro Blanco, but he needs to improve on his defending skills and I think he could be better if he would work on his athleticism, pace and acceleration. Against players like Artur, Blanco does not stand a chance and Artur made Blanco look really bad. The left-back provided ten assists in 33 matches for Rosario Central last season and this makes me think that he usually performs better. However, performance is not the same as potential and I don’t think Blanco showed potential to be a future T5 competitions player.