Cruzeiro EC U20 – Match Report vs. Capivariano U20 (05/01/2023)

Cruzeiro faced Capivariano on the second matchday of the Copinha. After beating Comercial-MS, Cruzeiro came up against a team that had won their first match convincingly (4-0). Cruzeiro set up in a 4-3-3 with a 3+1 build-up, as Jhosefer moved to the right central defence position in possession. Capivariano started off furiously and put an immense pressure on Cruzeiro’s back-line. Cruzeiro struggled but got more comfortable as the match went on, eventually leading to Arielson’s opening goal who proved me wrong in this match, scoring both of his chances and being deadly in front of goal. In the end, Cruzeiro extended their lead to 3-0 before defensive midfielder Lucas Gomes pulled one back from the penalty spot. Cruzeiro wasn’t done scoring and scored three more, with Denilson and Jhosefer showing that they have very nice goal celebrations.

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

Rhuan Gabriel

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

Rhuan Gabriel once again played as a right central midfielder for the under 20’s of Cruzeiro. He had a big impact on the game, scoring and assisting one goal. The central midfielder, when Cruzeiro had settled possession in midfield, liked to drift out wide with Luis Fernando coming inside to create space for the 16-year-old. Rhuan Gabriel often received the ball in wide areas, from where he showed a lot of variety. He either carried the ball inside and tried playing a through pass with his left foot or he tried to get past his opponent on the outside before delivering a cross into the box. In other situations, he went for possession without taking risks. Rhuan Gabriel displayed good vision carrying the ball inside, but the execution of his through passes was not always that good despite having a good passing technique with his weaker left foot.

The Brazilian midfielder was much more dangerous operating in the wide areas. He put in two crosses (that I can remember) in this match and his delivery was excellent. Rhuan Gabriel has a great crossing technique and put his crosses into really good areas, with one of them reaching Arielson who finished the chance off very well. Carrying the ball inside, Rhuan Gabriel protected the ball pretty well in smaller spaces while also displaying good close control. He has good bursts of speed, allowing him to get past his marker. From open play, Rhuan Gabriel attempted two shots from distance. One of them nearly went out of the stadium as he rushed his shot while the other one was not struck well either. However, he took Cruzeiro’s free-kick from about 28 meters out and scored it fantastically. Rhuan Gabriel has a really good crossing and shooting technique but just needs to work on his consistency.

Rating – 2

I think that Rhuan Gabriel was not used in the right position today, as I think he will be much more dangerous from the left side. He could put in some great inswinging crosses from deep areas, while also being dangerous with his shots from distance. Carrying the ball inside, he could also be more dangerous with his through passing as his right foot is better than his left foot. I don’t think he is a Vitor Roque esque talent, but he can definitely reach the first team soon and does have everything what it takes to become a future first-team player.



  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 03/09/2004
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: Cruzeiro
  • Position: Right-Back
  • Secondary position: Right-Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Jhosefer, Cruzeiro’s captain, was deployed as a right-back in the match against Capivariano. Standing at 1.75 meters with a normal build, Jhosefer is not the biggest right-back but he does hold his own in physical duels. He uses his body very efficiently, throwing the opponent off balance and anticipating well to recover possession. The full-back displayed very good speed in this match, also with the ball at his feet. Being played as a wide central defender in first phase possession, Jhosefer often was in acres of space. The former winger used this space really well to carry the ball into space aggressively, really attacking the space. He was composed enough on the ball to not rush his actions, creating more time for himself and dribbling past opponents comfortably.

The youngster always passed the ball to the wing with his right foot before returning back to his position. He displayed really good close control while dribbling, showing that he would also be able to do this against higher-level opponents. Under pressure, Jhosefer had secure and consistent passing. His passing technique is good. Defensively, he showed good anticipation to step up at the right times and not making any mistakes defending a medium-high defensive line. Jhosefer only seemed to struggle to defend aerial balls in the box, which is not that strange considering that he originally is a winger. He did not make any major mistakes, but could be a liability against taller and stronger opponents.

I think that Jhosefer was not used in the right role in this match, considering that he has so much attacking prowess having played as a winger before. His speed should be used as an asset, making overlapping runs and putting crosses into the box.

Rating – 2

Jhosefer showed today that he is a quality player who is only going to get better. Having played three matches for the senior team already, I can only assume that he will have a role in the Serie A with Cruzeiro next season.



  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 06/01/2004
  • Club: Cruzeiro
  • Career: Cruzeiro
  • Position: Centre-Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pedrão played as Cruzeiro’s right central defender in the match against Capivariano. Standing at approximately 1.85 meters with a muscular build, the defender has a lot of power in his legs and body. This was shown when an opponent tried to throw Pedrão off balance when the defender tried to let the ball run over the byline. Pedrão did not move. He also dominated every single shoulder-to-shoulder duel, shrugging his opponent off the ball and displaying great speed over long distances. Pedrão is a pretty mobile defender with decent body coordination. The Brazilian youngster was very commanding and dominant in aerial duels too, having a powerful leap and good timing. His agility and changes of direction did not get tested that much in this match, but the early signs are quite positive. However, I will look back at this statement the next time I watch him. Defensively, Pedrão defended space very well using his good strength and space, while also closing gaps towards the wing really well. He was comfortable defending aerial balls and did not make any mistakes.

The Brazilian defender moved centrally in possession, playing in between Jhosefer and Rafael. Pedrão had a very cautious approach in possession, not attacking the space well and failing to carry the ball forward. The defender mostly went for a sideways pass to Rafael or Jhosefer, who were both more comfortable progressing play. During the times that Pedrão attempted a forward pass, he showed that he can be more confident and comfortable on the ball as his passing technique with both feet is pretty good. He did make a mistake on his own half by passing the ball over the byline after miscontrolling a pass, but I think that the potential is there. The defender can be a threat from set-pieces and even scored, but his goal was wrongfully disallowed for offside.

Rating – 1

After giving him a bad rating last match because he was not great on the ball, I think that this rating was wrong. He showed that he is okay on the ball, while being very strong defensively. Pedrão has also made his debut for the first team already. He needs to work on his on-the-ball ability but I think he can become a really good defender in the Serie A.


Other ratings:

Italo Isaac (LB, 20/02/2004) – 4

  • Italo Isaac seems very limited defensively, giving Guilherme a lot of space and losing almost every 1v1 duel. He lacks physicality and failed to protect the ball multiple times. He was also not as effective with his underlapping runs as last time. However, he is two-footed and very comfortable on the ball. He also moves really well.

Arielson (05/09/2004) – 3

  • I said last time that Arielson was not deadly in the box, but that he had good hold-up and link-up play. This match was the polar opposite. Arielson was not involved in the game at all, but managed to finish his two chances off and was the hero of Cruzeiro.

Japa (02/01/2004) – 3

  • Japa had a decent performance but showed some limitations. He did not seem to be able to handle the intensity sometimes, not transitioning quickly enough from attacking to defending and generally not covering enough ground. He showed lapses of concentration and his defensive positioning when the opponent had settled possession on Cruzeiro’s half was not great. However, formerly playing as an attacking midfielder, there is still time to learn. He still has great technique and is very comfortable under pressure.

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