In any given match, the momentum of the game can swing on any moment. It may be a penalty given, a wrong off side shout that keeps you in the game or a sending off but sometimes it a piece of play that inspires and invigorates the team mates around you. It can be enough to instill confidence back into a team and strip the opposition bare of any it has remaining. Games are won and lost on these moments but it’s not something the players or even the manager can ever plan for.
In Thursday nights opening game in the Under 20 Sudamericano, Peru faced up to a strong Uruguay team, who were looking to kick off Group B with three points. Peru were also looking to start their campaign off with a bang and were hoping to repeat history and beat Uruguay 2-0, just as they did in January 2011 in the same tournament. For a while it looked as though Peru would when they took the lead through 19-year-old striker José Yordy Reyna in the 17th minute of the game. Reyna has been playing well for the national team as well as his club side Alianza Lima in the Peruvian league. Alianza Lima, which suffered tragedy in 1987 when their entire team and coaching staff were killed when their plane crashed on the way back from a game, have been investing in youth for some time now and is starting to reap the rewards. Reyna is one of many players that have come through their academies and are now playing for both club and country.
Reyna and his teammates managed to keep an impressive Uruguay at bay until 4 minutes before the end of the first half when Nicolas Lopez was slipped through to equalise. But Peru were to finish the half on high note as they took the lead yet again through defender Edwin Gómez and finishing the half 2-1 ahead. Hopes to extend their lead were squashed early on in the second half as Uruguay came out the blocks quickest and hit a brace in a three-minute spell to go 3-2 ahead. Goal provider for Lopez, Ruban Bentancourt turned into goal scorer as he pull his side level once again. Less than ninety seconds later Uruguay scored again through striker Diego Rolan, crushing Peru’s hope of a victory.
But then the moment that turned the game around. With less than 7 minutes left in the game and following a Peru attack, Uruguay managed to turn the ball over and quickly counter attack sending a high long ball towards their striker Gonzalo Bueno. With the last Peruvian defender beaten for pace, Bueno was through and only had the keeper Angelo Campos to beat. Campos has predicted this happening and was already racing towards the ball as Bueno claimed his first touch to try to bring the ball under control. Skillfully he managed to flick the ball round Campos and passed the ball into the open goal for what he thought would be his country’s fourth goal. But Campos had other ideas and raced back to claw the ball off the line and save the day. But the danger had not passed as the ball was still in play and Bueno came in for the follow-up. Campos, whose momentum had carried him into the netting, quickly got to his feet again to deny Bueno his second chance and keep his team in the game.
The wonder saves were enough to lift the heads of Campos’s team mates who fought back to draw the match, scoring in the 88th minute of the game through a penalty from midfielder Cristian Benavente. The goal earned Peru a point and started off their campaign on a brighter note. If it wasn’t for Campos’s double saves, the likelihood would have been that Peru would have gone on to lose the match. Most would have decided that it was too late to do anything about it, and let Bueno’s shot trickle into the empty net. But not Campos showed determination and an attitude of not giving up even on a lost cause.
To see the double save, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o90lOzhvhuI