Monday, February 29, 2016

Plaza Colonia beat poor Nacional

Back to the Uruguayan Primera División it was for Nacional tonight after their successful visit to Rosario Central in the Copa Libertadores. Their opponent: Plaza Colonia, unbeaten in 10 games.

Coach Gustavo Munúa did not choose to make things easy for himself by any means. Compared to Thursday's 1-1 draw, he made 10 changes to his starting XI. The only one "surviving" was centre-back Mauricio Victorino. How would those circumstances work out for the champions who wanted to profit off Peñarol slipping against Fénix last night (0-2)?

Not very well it seemed. The first half turned out to be an absolute snoozefest, basically from start to finish. Two pretty decent chances, one for each team: A shot from distance for Plaza early on that just flew over the bar and Mascia's header that did not find the top corner either.

Best part of the first 45 minutes was probably a scene of Cristian Tabó. His skill and trickery made at least three opposing defenders look silly, before he got mowed down from behind. Yellow card for Matias Caseras. Talking of mowing down: Sébastian Eguren waved bye to this match before the halftime whistle. He caught his opponent with an awful looking foul, which looked by no means on purpose. Still a clear red card. Ok, enough and let's quickly forget about this and get to the second half.

Red card: Eguren was sent off for this bad looking tackle.
The best news for the restart? Nacional finally had Nico López on the pitch who dominated throughout his first weeks at the club. Instead of storming forward, second goalkeeper Luis Mejía had to save the day with the biggest save of his young Nacional career.

Plaza and Nacional continued to fight an endless midfield battle up between their respective penalty areas and Nico López managed his first good shot 20 minutes into the half. The sad thing is that I am actually writing about all the chances and there were just none more. Another López chance was survived five minutes later when the Uruguayan striker could not direct his attempt on target while falling on the pitch.

It was another Nico who got a goal that turned out decisive then. Plaza Colonia's Dibble was brought into play on the right side during a counter attack. He pulled inside into the penalty area and left Mejía no chance with a shot into the far bottom corner. 1-0 for the outsiders.

Attention now for the scene that summed it all up: Plaza was through on the left again, their shot hit the post and from there fell onto Olivera's leg and into his own net. 2-0 in the 90th minute and game over.

What was good, what was not

Goalkeeper Luis Mejía showed one can trust him with his alertness and a great save when called upon. Could do nothing about the goals against. Youth product Alejandro Cavanna had a pretty decent game at right-back, Tabó looked like the only one alive offensively all game long (aside from López).

Ultimate team rotation was clearly not the right idea against a Plaza team that was on a good run and showed they can stop an uninspired Nacional from scoring. It was easily the worst game of the season from the visitors, being down to 10 men for half of it didn't exactly help either.


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