Lima, January 16, 2022Updated on 01/16/2022 07:27 pm
Marcos López walks slowly to the edge of the pitch at the National Stadium, holding the back of his right thigh. Worries. The left side of the peruvian national team, one of the best in the 1-1 draw against Panama, was injured and everyone on the red and white bench asks about him. He was one of the possible starters on the next Playoffs date and now he is a dangerous question mark. In a decisive hour to draw conclusions, Ricardo Gareca was able to confirm what few of us want to recognize: Peru, at its most important moment in the last four years, has many dreams, but few replacements.
This is the ideal time to give movement to everything planned just two weeks before the match against Colombia. Given so much inactivity by those led by Ricardo Gareca, these types of friendlies are not a simple routine: they are an urgent need. Although Panama does not have the rigor of the rivals that Peru will have on the next date of playoffs, what he could contribute was physical demand and a lot of seriousness for the dispute of each ball. That friction put Gareca on alert with injuries. Let’s remember that in the previous friendly, against the foreign team of League 1, the ‘Tiger’ asked the rivals not to exaggerate with “the strong leg” because “it was not the time to risk”.
-Valera: a light on a very opaque day-
The only goal of the Peruvian team, on this summer afternoon with an empty stadium, was also hand in hand with one of the few good news left by this match with Panama: Alex Valera continues to gain confidence to be an increasingly solid option in attack.
The Valera thing is important, because yesterday it became clear that the Peruvian team lacks variants up front. Edison Flores is still far from his best version and Andy Polo he needs even more filming after his prolonged injury.
When the performance of a Gareca team is analyzed, the collective always prevails. However, it is inevitable to follow up on some names that are of interest to face both Colombia and Ecuador. Pedro Gallese in goal is a happy habit of solidity and little margin for error. Ramos and Callens in the rear did not have many shocks; while Aldo Corzo prioritized the defensive role before climbing towards the Panamanian area (he would start against the coffee growers).
In the middle, Horacio Calcaterra and Christofer Gonzales had some flashes to show themselves as possible replacements for a player like Yoshimar Yotún, who is not going through his best sports stage. It is exciting that a young man like Jesus Castillo the confidence of the ‘Tiger’ at the wheel has been gained so quickly.
Ricardo Gareca has one more friendly left before the determining match against Colombia. Against Jamaica there is still time to explore variants, which this Peruvian team lacks so much. There is an almost historic battle in less than two weeks in Barranquilla. It remains to identify more “soldiers” who can succeed in this mission.