This Sunday, the first round of the final fight for the League title. A team that went from less to more and another with a very even performance are the contenders to keep the December star. Line by line analysis.
In Junior, the Uruguayan goalkeeper arrived with the responsibility of making a giant like Sebastián Viera forget. Although he was always in the orbit of the Uruguayan National Team, he lost his position with Jefferson Martínez towards the middle of the tournament, and then consolidated himself as a starter. Like the entire team, or perhaps because of him, Mele went from less to more until he became a fundamental piece for the team to gain personality and play face to face with the rivals.
In DIM, José Luis Chunga started the tournament as a starter and even came to be in the orbit of the Colombian National Team, with some emergency call-ups for the playoffs. He was injured in the match against Millonarios in Bogotá and Yimy Gómez came in to replace him, coming from Fortaleza, a team to which he was loaned for a while. Gómez responded well when he had to play and now DIM has another alternative with Andrés Mosquera Marmolejo, recovered from a serious injury.
The balance of defenses leans on the side of the Powerful
Junior from Barranquilla has a lot of strength on the sides, where Walmer Pacheco and Gabriel Fuentes are very strong coming out and scoring, especially the second, who is experiencing a second wind in his career. In the central defense, coach Arturo Reyes has little by little been consolidating a partnership with Jermein Peña and Emanuel Olivera, although the latter has had ups and downs. Except in the games against Tolima, the team has been consolidating defensive solidity.
Although at some point in the championship coach Alfredo Arias tried a line of three defenders, at the end of the championship he found a defense of four with established names. Joaquín Varela confirmed himself as the great leader at the back, strong from above and below. Luis Orejuela, as a right back, also provides a lot of outlets for the attack, as does Daniel Londoño. In the last 11 games, Medellín only received five touchdowns.
The axes of the team: Didier Moreno and Daniel Torres
The return of Arturo Reyes to the technical direction of Junior, after the failure of Hernán Darío ‘Bolillo’ Gómez, gave a second youth to Didier Moreno, a player highly resisted by the Junior fans, but who has become indispensable in the structure. He removes, delivers and attacks. Next to him, Homer Martínez has been gaining experience and, in addition, can give him an alternative to the coach as a central defender, a position that he had previously occupied.
The experience of Daniel Torres, at 34 years old and with a past in the Colombian National Team, has guided Medellín in the campaign. He is not only a leader in football, in scoring and starting, but also in his relationship with rivals and referees. He inspires respect and that is key for the DIM. Torres shares the first line of midfielders with Jaime Alvarado, a player in the youth team process who, alongside the former Santa Fe player, has been gaining maturity.
Creation zone: strong wingers and a brilliant creative
Junior found a second line of midfielders in which he combines the strength of José Enamorado and Deiber Caicedo on the wings and a very good moment from ‘Cariaco’ González, who have come together in a very good way to take advantage of Carlos Bacca’s scoring ability. The most notable of the three is Caicedo, who came from the MLS and has made a difference in the League, with a very good finish of the year to consolidate Junior’s comeback.
Medellín does not play with a creative midfielder as such: it has two men on the wings, Edwuin Cetré and Yairo Moreno. The first, the team’s top scorer, has taken advantage of the large number of penalties that have been called in favor of DIM (he only missed one of the 11 he took), but he has also shown the ability to overwhelm and get together with his teammates. And the second returned after a time away from football due to an injury and, little by little, he has recovered the form that led him to the National Team.
A historic scorer against two feisty attackers
At the beginning of the championship, Carlos Bacca seemed hopeless for football: Junior’s doctor, Javier Fernández, said that he had an irreversible injury to his right knee and coach Gómez was not going to count on him. The change of coach suited the scorer, who is now the top scorer in the championship, with 16 goals and a wide range of ways to score: he has scored with both profiles, a header and also a penalty. There are already 101 goals with the Junior shirt.
Although Medellín’s greatest offensive weight is being carried by Cetré, Luciano Pons has not lost offensive prominence, with five goals scored throughout the campaign. The Argentine shares the attacking line with Brayan León Muñiz, another player who, like Cetré, did not come out well in Junior and found in the DIM a way to recover the good game he showed in Deportivo Pereira that won the League a year ago. He stood out in the classics against Nacional, with three goals.
JOSÉ ORLANDO ASCENCIO
SPORTS Deputy Editor
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