Cruzeiro EC U20 – Match Report vs. Comercial-MS U20 (02/01/2023)

Cruzeiro U20 beat Comercial-MS U20 5-0 in what was a very dominant display by Cruzeiro. They played in a possession-based 4-3-3 with a lot of dynamism and position changes. The full-backs often played in an inverted role and Comercial-MS did not have an answer to that. The score was 2-0 when Ruan Indio got subbed on. Two assists and a goal later by 16-year-old Ruan Indio, Cruzeiro was up by five goals. The score could have been bigger, but striker Arielson was very wasteful in front of goal.

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

Arielson

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 05/09/2004
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: Cruzeiro
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Arielson played as a striker for Cruzeiro in the match against Comercial-MS. The youngster liked to drop deep and get involved in the build-up, as he did not have the physical capacity to be effective with runs in behind due to a lack of speed and strength in shoulder-to-shoulder duels. He lost most of his races to the ball and physical duels against Comercial-MS’s defenders. Arielson often showed good link-up play in the smaller spaces, showing that he has decent technique and ball control. The striker got into good positions in the build-up, creating passing angles for his teammates and helping Cruzeiro to progress play. Arielson had decent awareness of where his opponents and teammates were. The striker showed good awareness and decision-making in the build-up, scanning before receiving and making the right decision after. Arielson, after taking a positive touch, carried the ball forward well but lacked speed to stay away from his marker.

Standing at approximately 1.80 meters with a relatively small build, it is clear that the striker has to develop his strength in the upcoming years if he wants to become a first-team striker. He did not look like the greatest athlete, not turning that quickly and also not being capable of changing directions quickly while sprinting. Arielson showed good composure and patience when holding up play. He did not rush his decision and released the ball at the right time. The striker scored one goal for Cruzeiro, but did not seem that deadly in the box. His shot that led to a goal was very scuffed and he missed two more big chances, seemingly being very wasteful in front of goal and not being able to really make his mark in the match. He also seemed to miscontrol passes in the box two times – both situations should have led to a big chance for Cruzeiro under 20.

Rating – 4

Arielson did not show enough to justify giving a better rating. He lacked physical ability, while also not showing that much potential in the technical and tactical areas. I think that he will be benched for Ruan Indio next game.

Japa

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 02/01/2004
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: Cruzeiro
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Japa played as a defensive midfielder for Cruzeiro. The captain of the team was at the base of every attack, showing good positioning and movement in the first phase of possession to receive the ball in space. He did really well to move between the lines and to create passing options for the central defenders. Japa, mostly receiving the ball near the halfway line, played some strong line-breaking passes into the attack. These passes were powerful but stayed on the ground, making it easier to control the ball. The midfielder has a very good left foot. He did not use his right foot that often though. Both his short and long passing technique are really good. However, he mostly played passes over the ground and even though he switched play well, he did not have an extensive passing range. His first touch was consistently good and he showed good close control while dribbling. Japa helped Cruzeiro to progress the ball further up the pitch really well and had a big role in their win.

Standing at approximately 1.75 meters with a slim build, Japa showed pretty good speed over short and long distances. He has decent athleticism, turning relatively quickly and keeping his balance well. Defensively, the Brazilian midfielder was very tenacious and aggressive. He liked to contest ground and aerial duels. Even though he has a slim build and does not look that strong, Japa was really convincing in the duels because he was almost always well-positioned. He occasionally stepped up too early, but generally did really well defensively. Japa won most aerial duels because he has a really good leap and timing. The midfielder was unlucky to get a yellow card and made a little bit of a clumsy foul afterwards. After this moment, he was really cautious and was not that aggressive in the duels anymore.

Rating – 3

I think that Japa has the potential to play for the first team of Cruzeiro within one or two years based on this match. However, the opposition’s level was pretty low and it will be interesting and important to see how Japa will fare against better opponents.

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Italo Isaac

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 20/02/2004
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: Cruzeiro
  • Position: Left-Back
  • Secondary position: Right-back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Italo Isaac usually plays as a right-back for Cruzeiro under 20 but started on the left against Comercial-MS. The youngster, standing at approximately 1.78 meters with a slim build, showed good athleticism in this match. The full-back has very good speed over both short and long distances. He has good changes of direction while sprinting, making him an effective dribbler and hard to defend in the attacking 1v1s. The wing-back showed good ball control while dribbling, but I am curious to see how he performs in the smaller spaces when he takes on opponents. Italo Isaac moved really fluidly on the pitch. The Brazilian youngster did not have much to do defensively, but he did show good aggressiveness in the press to recover possession high up the pitch, allowing Cruzeiro to maintain the pressure. Italo Isaac made some strong interceptions.

The defender of Cruzeiro had a very interesting playing style, showing great positional sense as he was left unmarked constantly in the left half-space. His positioning was good because he always formed triangles with teammates. Italo Isaac mostly played on the inside and showed good link-up play and one-touch football in the attacking third, exploiting his good positional sense well. The Brazilian displayed quick decision-making under pressure and had a lot of positive involvement in attack. Italo Isaac made plenty of great underlapping runs, but failed to deliver good crosses into the box on his left foot. In the first phase of possession, Italo Isaac occasionally even moved in the defensive midfield position to drag opponents out of position and to create space for himself. Despite not delivering good crosses into the box with his left foot, Italo Isaac looked pretty two-footed and comfortable playing with both feet. He displayed good ball control in small spaces and had a good short and long passing technique.

Rating – 2

I think that Italo Isaac is a really modern left-back who could go on to become Cruzeiro’s starting right- or left-back in the future. I would like to see how he does against stronger opponents to see if my opinion is still the same.

Rhuan Gabriel

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 16
  • Date of birth: 06/02/2006
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: Cruzeiro
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Rhuan Gabriel started on the right in a midfield three in an advanced role. The young midfielder liked to make runs into the channels, often finding and receiving in space. Rhuan Gabriel displayed decent close control under pressure, doing well to keep the ball close to him. The midfielder had a good touch receiving balls over the ground, but his first touch receiving over the top aerial balls can do with some improvement. This sometimes restricted him from being really dangerous in the final third. The Brazilian did not look like a very creative player, but he did create some low-quality chances displaying decent vision to find the runners in behind. He also had a pre-assist for Arielson’s opening goal, playing a good through pass to Luis Fernando.

The 16-year-old Rhuan Gabriel was often involved in the attacking third, receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area. He did not rush his actions and kept his composure well. At 16, most players rush their actions when they are in a bit of space near the penalty area. Rhuan Gabriel does well to scan before receiving, which helped him to play out of pressure and make the right decisions when he was put under pressure. He had good first-touch passing. Rhuan Gabriel seemingly looked very comfortable playing one- or two-touch football. The Brazilian had a good short and long passing technique but did not have a very extensive passing range. Rhuan Gabriel, standing at approximately 1.75 meters with a normal build, displayed good athleticism. He has good turns of speed and is capable of maintaining that speed over long distances. He showed good changes of directions, helping him to get past opponents in attacking 1v1s.

Rating – 3

I think I need to see more footage of him (and the other players) to get a good view of the player. For now, I think he has the potential to reach the first team within a few years.

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Luis Fernando

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 12/04/2005
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: EC São Bernardo, EC Santa Agua, Cruzeiro
  • Position: Right-Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

I was contemplating whether to also write about Luis Fernando but here we are. Luis Fernando played as a right winger and provided the assist for Arielson’s goal to make the 1-0. The 17-year-old winger is approximately 1.80 meters tall and has a slim build. He looked quick over short distances but also had really good speed over long distances. Fernando often received through passes, exploiting his good pace and giving him a chance to cross the ball into the box. Luis Fernando had really good crossing at full speed, which I thought was really good to see. He did not have to slow down before crossing. The winger has good ball control in small spaces while not being at full speed, but lacked close control while dribbling at full speed. Fernando needs a lot of space to run into when he is dribbling at full speed.

The winger also displayed lapses of concentration, failing to control easy passes and just not looking focused in some occasions. Luis Fernando had decent vision, putting in some good crosses and also playing some dangerous passes into the box. He could have had more assists if Arielson was a little bit sharper in front of goal. Fernando has decent attacking 1v1 skills but is not a very tricky, skillful winger that you often see in Brazil. Luis Fernando has good shooting technique with his right foot, striking the ball really well, but should really work on his shooting with his left foot. The winger liked to also play in central areas during the match, but did not make a real impact from this position and should probably stick to playing in the wide areas.

Rating – 4

I think he is a traditional winger who prefers to get past his opponent on the outside before crossing the ball into the box. I personally don’t like that type of winger, but considering that Luis Fernando seemingly has many limitations, I am not sure how it will work out for him in the future. As for the other players, I will watch more footage of them to see if I still think the same after seeing 3-4 full matches of them.

Rating for other players:

  • Otavio (GK, 27/12/2005) – 4 (looked confident in goal but did not have much to do)
  • Jhosefer (RB, 09/03/2004) – 3 (great speed, dangerous in final third, aggressive in defensive duels)
  • Pedrão (CB, 06/01/2004) – 4 (good passing with both feet, did not get tested defensively, ~1.85m with muscular build)
  • Rafael (CB, 22/01/2003) – 3 (likes to carry ball into midfield, decent line-breaking passes, did not get tested much defensively but early signs were not good, ~1.82m with normal build)
  • Henrique (CM, 22/02/2003) – 5 (scored a great free-kick but lacked ball control and struggled to use his body well)
  • Guilherme Meira (LW, 20/01/2005) – 4 (good technique and composure, just did not really stand out)
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