While the football country imagines Oliver Sonne as Oliver Atom, Paolo Guerrero shuts up those of us who thought he was closer to the Kings League than to North America 2026. His quality remains intact, although his hip no longer responds at the same speed in the spin and its energy reserves are quickly depleted, like an iPhone 6 resurrected in the Falklands.
His two great goals in the semifinal of the Sudamericana have returned him to the international spotlight. There is no media that does not highlight the scoring resurrection of the LDU forward who will turn 40 in January. Our faith, incidentally, has risen a couple of grams, after the blow that came with knowing that Gianluca Lapadula’s recovery will take a while.
Among so many shortcomings, everything adds up. And a lot. From seeing how Concha takes over the Alliance midfield, D’Arrigo runs with the strength of a veteran in Melgar or enjoying Orejas Flores doing high pressure in Trujillo with Universitario.
The next double date will be more complex than the first. If it has always been difficult to face Chile on a visit, it will be even more so in this context of uncertainty and desperate hunger for a victory. Needless to say, the champion Argentina, a great team no matter how you look at it, despite the hardships they faced against Ecuador and the doubts about Messi’s condition.
DAMN OCTOBER 12
We will face the Mapochinos on October 12, a cursed date for our football: October 12, but 26 years ago, La Roja took us out of France 98 with a victory that hurts just remembering it. I had to be there, like thousands of other Peruvians, imagining the brilliant match that would return us to a World Cup after the feat of Montevideo in ’81. The result was catastrophic. Added to the 4 stab wounds that Acosta’s team inflicted on us was the hostile attitude that the red and white team encountered since she stepped foot at the Santiago airport. The attacks and acts of provocation multiplied. That time, at the exit of the stadium, our players were beaten by the police. I remember feeling so disgusted that I decided not to accompany some colleagues who were staying sightseeing. The next day I was back to Lima.
Today the circumstances are different. The qualifying rounds have just started, the present of both teams differs and the carnival of baseness seems banished. Something, however, survives: the feeling in the air that we can return home with 3 points or at least a draw.
Gain? My question is how. First of all, history does not help: Peru has never won an official match against Chile on the road. In the playoffs we have barely gotten draws from them (1-1 in ’77 with a goal from Muñante and the same result in 2000 with a great goal from Jayo). We have played good games, but they have almost always beaten us. And by several goals difference.
Chile has been stumbling for years. Their golden generation has been drained of blood. Berizzo, his coach, generates less confidence than Alberto Kouri and the story of his little truck. Together with Costas, he is a great candidate to follow the path of the Barros Schelotto twins.
Peru likes the addition of Sonne, a winger with movement, who knows how to secure his wing and is efficient in front of goal. He lacks Advíncula’s sprint, but he adds more technical resources than Corzo. We need to see how he fits into the group, the environment and the coaching staff. This necessary adaptation process makes it difficult to think that Reynoso will use him in either game.
If the medical report is favorable, Reyna and, hopefully, Callens should return. With Zambrano, Santamaría, Canchita Gonzales, Aquino and Concha we have more tools to secure our goal and generate danger. Relying exclusively on Paolo makes us predictable and accentuates our offensive limitations. Carrillo’s loss hurts because there is no player who looks like him. The low performances of Cueva and Flores will make direct play predominate, with a lot of speed on the ends. Reyna, Polo and Grimaldo will take center stage, López will be crucial and we will see what Quispe is made of.
Thinking about a victory over Argentina is an act of supreme optimism. These days, my colleagues will begin to repeat the usual little phrases (“we have always played well for them”, “we are their shadow”, etc.). Given this, it is mandatory to keep in mind that smoke, in any of its forms, is harmful to health. And the good game. Even without Messi, Scaloni’s team looks like an overwhelming force due to its dizzying speed and sudden changes of pace. We will have to oppose them with the military discipline shown against Brazil and endure without turning red. It is not cowardice, but pure pragmatism. There is no other option.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.