by J.P. Devetori
Universitario fell short to Barcelona SC in the return leg of the 2nd Stage of the 2022 Copa Libertadores, losing 0-1 (0-3 on aggregate). Despite having many factors in our favor such as the early Barcelona red card and playing in front of a 100% capacity sold out crema crowd, the “U” couldn’t muster the goals needed to stay alive in the 2022 Copa Libertadores.
In the 24th minute, Barcelona defender Luca Sosa fouled Alex Valera after failing to guard him 1 on 1. Valera was passing Sosa to be 1 on 1 vs the Barcelona goalkeeper but was fouled on the process. This led to an indirect kick opportunity for the “U” and Cabanillas delivered the kick to a wide open Angel Cayetano who headed a pass to Piero Quispe, who scored. But the goal was disallowed due to Cayetano being offsides. Luis Urruti had a great shot on goal only to be blocked by Barcelona goalkeeper Javier Burrai. The “U” entered halftime still needing to score 2 goals just to stay alive.
In the 2nd half, Roberto Villamarin delivered a great pass to Valera only to be rejected by the post. Alexander Succar, who came as a substitute for Aldo Corzo (left with a minor injury), had many scoring chances but blew all of them. The final nail on the coffin came as Leandro Martinez scored in the 66th minute for Barcelona, extending the aggregate to 0-3 in their favor. Things got worse for the “U” when Alex Valera received a red card for no apparent reason after he was slapped in the face. This screws up the “U” for next year’s Libertadores since he will be out for 2 matches. Despite the “U” losing this match, the best player of the match is Piero Quispe. Quispe out hustled everybody and put in many plays to try to help the “U” in scoring but his teammates couldn’t match his productivity.
Team performance rating: D
The “U” did made numerous chances but failed to capitalize on all while they did their best to lockdown Barcelona defensively. And losing while being up 1 man is hard to fathom. The match proves the point on how in not just the “U” but other Peruvian clubs just can’t compete in the Copa Libertadores. The team needs to find the holes that keep the “U” from succeeding against other CONMEBOL and fill them with better talent.
Next match for the “U” will be on Saturday at Deportivo Municipal. The good news is that Sport Huancayo is not playing this weekend which means an “U” win will put us back in at the top of the Liga 1 table.