Sunday, February 21, 2016

Nacional get third win - 2:1 over Wanderers

Another 3 points: Nacional players celebrate.
Last night, Nacional returned to their very own Gran Parque Central for the first time in 2016. Their opponent were the Montevideo Wanderers, who started into the season with a win and a loss. 

In the beginning stages, the visitors were excellent. They pressed the home team very early and back in their own half. This led to many losses of possession from Nacional and eventually the opening goal for Wanderers after 24 minutes. Captain Diego Polenta was pressured and completely messed up a back pass to goalkeeper Conde. Gastón Rodriguez was on it and silenced the home crowd. 

In general, it was not a good game from Polenta. Holding the back four together during the first two wins of the season, he was responsible for a lot of defensive errors tonight. It nearly seems like one centre-back has to take that role on this team. Against Villa Teresa and River Plate, it was Mauricio Victorino, today the captain himself. Victorino found himself on the bench, where he started the season, as Cabaco returned from injury to fill the second centre-back position. 

Six minutes after the first goal of the game, Leandro Barcia was sent on a deep run into the penalty area, a ball he reached with tremendous pace, not only surprising me, but Wanderers' defenders. Gastón Bueno could only stop Barcia with a foul and Nacional was rightfully awarded a penalty. Nico López converted calmly for his fifth goal of the season in just three matches. 

Nico López scores again, this time via penalty.
Anything but calm was the right description for an enthusiastic stadium now, which was nearly sold out for the home premiere. A pretty even game went to the halftime break tied 1-1. Barcia had another big chance after he made use of his speed again, only shot it into the side netting. Today, he was the best of the front 3. Over on the right side of the field, he was supported decently by fullback Jorge Fucile, who is having a nice season so far. 

Alfonso Espino returned on the left in place of Olivera and was solid, but nothing more. Coach Gustavo Munúa substituted for the win in the 65th minute. He brought on Sebastián Fernández for Nacho González and the former Uruguayan international did not disappoint. After a big scramble in the penalty area following a corner, Seba banged it home from a short distance. 2-1 Nacional after 75 minutes.

Seba Fernández (right) scores the winner.
That's how it stayed. The only action of importance was probably the sending off of Bueno for his second yellow card when time was nearly up. After being the better team in the second half, Nacional deserve their third victory of the season in as many games. However, it is doubtful this performance will be enough to get something out of Rosario Central in Argentina on Thursday evening in the Copa Libertadores. One thing is for sure: This team will be on fire to do well in that exact moment.

Player ratings (0-10):

Conde  7
Fucile  8
Cabaco  7
Polenta  3
Espino  5
Romero  6
Porras  5
Barcia  8
González  6
Ramírez  5
López  7

Fernández  8
Tabó  6
Barbaro  -


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