Universidad Católica and Mushuc Runa faced each other in the first matchday of the second stage in the Ecuadorian Liga Pro. The hosts deployed in a 4-3-3 with Kevin Minda playing as the sole defensive midfielder. Mushuc Runa also played in a 4-3-3 but instead of playing with a defensive midfielder, the visitors had Mauricio Alonso as the sole attacking midfielder. Universidad Católica dominated possession throughout the match and always built it out from the back. After missing a big chance, Aron Rodriguez converted his second chance and also scored his third chance from close range in the second half, which ended up being the deciding goal. Mushuc Runa scored a goal in the first half from a corner.
- 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, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Ecuadorian
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 22/12/2001
- Club: Mushuc Runa
- Career: Japan Auto (Y), Mushuc Runa (Y), Mushuc Runa
- Position: Central Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Arnaldo Zambrano had his first start for Mushuc Runa in the match against Universidad Católica and the Ecuadorian put in a very promising performance. As a left central midfielder in a defensive-minded side, Zambrano was mainly focused on defending in this match. The youngster reads the game well and steps up at the right times. He used his good acceleration to close the gap towards the opponent who received the ball aggressively and disrupted Universidad Católica’s build-up by doing this. The Ecuadorian is positively aggressive in the duels in midfield and intercepted a few passes. Zambrano got a yellow card in the second half when he tried to stop Aron Rodriguez in a counter-attack. He tried to go for the ball but his slide tackle was not well-timed. However, he generally was very disciplined and concentrated in defence, which is impressive for a young South American midfielder.
I think that Zambrano was around 1.75 meters tall and he had a normal build. He seemed pretty muscular in his arms and legs (relatively) but he seemed to not have great body strength. This could also be seen in physical ground duels when Zambrano tried to protect the ball while in possession. He got pushed off-balance pretty easily. On the ball, Zambrano did not have see that much of the ball. This was mainly because of Universidad Católica’s dominance on the ball, but Zambrano was not always switched on in possession. While his intensity in defence was great, he was not always trying to move in space in possession. In possession, Zambrano had an impressive long pass in his locker. He switched play with ease and his long pass over around 50m was perfect. The youngster moves very smoothly and has good acceleration with the ball at his feet. Zambrano was unlucky in the 92nd minute to not score as his good effort from close range was saved by Darwin Cuero.
Rating – A2
Arnaldo Zambrano put in an impressive performance as it was just his first start for Mushuc Runa. Against one of Ecuador’s best teams, Zambrano showed great discipline and concentration defending Universidad Católica’s attacks. He looked really solid defensively and made a good impression on the ball too. All in all, I thought his performance was well-rounded and I will keep track of him in the coming months.