Melgar and the six keys to his meritorious qualification for the national final against Alianza Lima

The jubilation has returned to be part of . Because, although few trusted their classification to the final, the team from Arequipa responded with great humility on the field, making it clear that they have as many chances to establish themselves as the teams from Lima. The ‘Domino’ thus dominated the key before a who could do little or nothing, and now he will hunt for the national title that he has longed for so much in the last seven years.

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The historic international campaign and the conquest of the Apertura made the red and black club an indisputable candidate for the trophy. But in recent months the ‘Domino’ unexpectedly lost its winning identity, wandering aimlessly and generating more questions than answers ahead of the semifinals.

Few, then, gave him as a favorite in the tie against Sporting Cristal. But Melgar was in charge of completely dispelling all the doubts against him to celebrate a meritorious classification today. For this reason, in this note we analyze the keys that allowed the red and black team to reach the definition of the title against Alianza Lima.

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1. He got his memory back

As mentioned, Melgar was not having a good time lately in terms of results. After losing to Independiente del Valle in the Copa Sudamericana, the team led by Pablo Lavallén was practically in free fall in the local tournament. He lost valuable chances to win the Clausura and neglected his dominance in the accumulated table. In fact, he could have saved himself a semi-final and played the direct final, but that was not the case.

In this key against Rimenses, however, the ‘Domino’ recovered its competitive identity. In Arequipa he passed over his rival without major problems and in Lima he repeated the story with a little more caution, but with the same winning essence.

With a 2-0 at home they took a great advantage in the tie and with another 2-0 they settled the visit. Thus, Melgar, who until recently seemed lost, has now shown everyone that he has plenty of gas to become champion. How? He basically got his memory back.

Photo: League 1

2. Height in your favor

A very influential factor in these types of decisive matches is, without a doubt, the issue of height. This time, Melgar was very clever in that regard. He took refuge in Arequipa’s more than 2,300 meters above sea level and in the heat of the afternoon, scheduling the first leg at 3:00 pm, to make double use of the situation.

Little did it matter that, being Wednesday, the transcendental match is played during business hours and, therefore, not all Arequipa can attend the UNSA Monumental Stadium. Little bit. The important thing was to use the height to his advantage, at an annoying time, to tire the rival and thus violate him in every possible way.

In addition, the local power of the ‘Domino’ was an element to take into account. The Arequipa team won 16 of the 18 games they played at home during the regular season, adding a total of 48 points, more than any other team.

The result of all this, then, was positive. Melgar beat Cristal 2-0 with the height in his favor at home and faced the return match in Lima with greater calm. Even the marker could be more bulky in Arequipa.

Melgar took refuge in his Arequipa fort Photo: Violeta Ayasta / @photo.gec
Melgar took refuge in his Arequipa fort Photo: Violeta Ayasta / @photo.gec / NUCLEO-PHOTOGRAPHY > VIOLETA AYASTA

3. Luis Iberico, the figure

There is a lot to highlight about Melgar in this key, but there is no doubt that Luis Iberico was the great figure. The 24-year-old striker appeared when he was needed most to emerge as the ‘Domino’ hero in the semi-finals.

In the first leg, given the lack of effectiveness of the red and black team in general (30 shots in the entire match), Iberico reaped great joy on the slopes of the Misti with an invaluable double. Not satisfied with this, who wants to have more opportunities in the national team, he appeared again in the second leg in Lima to sentence the key with 2-0 (4-0 overall).

Luis Iberico, the top scorer in the semifinals Photo: Jesús Saucedo / @photo.gec
Luis Iberico, the top scorer in the semifinals Photo: Jesús Saucedo / @photo.gec / NUCLEO-PHOTOGRAPHY > JESUS ​​SAUCEDO

4. Didn’t shrink

As a visitor, Melgar’s balance has been regular throughout the season. Away from Arequipa, ‘Domino’ has had a little more trouble getting good results. Even so, they have managed to be the fourth team with the most points achieved away from home in the local championship (26 pts.). One of those points had been added against none other than Sporting Cristal.

The red and black managed to tie the sky-blue 2-2 in a great match played at the Alberto Gallardo for the Opening Tournament. Now the scenario changed (National Stadium), but the Arequipa team -again- did not shrink at any time. He played him as an equal again without fear and, instead of a draw, he knew how to achieve a victory that took him to the final.

5. defensive wall

In the first leg, Melgar could not count on his starting line-up, as Leonel Galeano and Alec Deneumostier were suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards. But his absences were not felt much: Horacio Orzán and Matías Lazo were in charge of covering those gaps.

Orzán, of course, is a benchmark in this team. His sacrifice is indisputable. When the potatoes burn, he assumes the responsibility that he must assume. That’s why I don’t hesitate to abandon his natural position (midfielder) to occupy the space that he was left as central in the first leg. And he did pretty well.

Meanwhile, Matías Lazo has already shown before that age is not a transcendental meter specifically for him. At only 19 years old, he has already taken on the challenges of a veteran in the South American, so doing the same in the semifinals of the local tournament did not mean much of a problem. And he complied.

Photo: Violeta Ayasta / @photo.gec
Photo: Violeta Ayasta / @photo.gec

/ NUCLEO-PHOTOGRAPHY > VIOLETA AYASTA

However, Galeano and Deneumostier returned to their old ways on the return leg to continue fighting for the goal towards the national final and neither of them disappointed. The two defenders rose to the occasion and were decisive in preventing Cristal from scoring a goal during the second leg. Meanwhile, Orzán returned to midfield and continued to be a figure.

Neither Ávila, nor Escobar, nor Buonanotte could do much to break the defensive wall that Melgar formed. In fact, in the more than 90 minutes played, the Rimenses were only able to execute two direct shots on goal, which Cáceda knew how to respond with optimism. And nothing more.

6. Optimal approach

After the victory in Arequipa, Melgar’s mission was to take care of his advantage and Pablo Lavallén knew it very well. The 67% possession of the ball in the first leg and the numerous attacks carried out by his team should no longer be repeated in the second leg. The situation had to change, even more so without height as a predominant factor.

For this reason, starting with a 2-0 in favor, Lavallén opted again for a 4-3-3 in his scheme, but with a different task from the first leg: the ‘Domino’ focused more on defending than attacking on the lap

The main thing was to protect Cáceda’s goal, keep the two goals up in the aggregate and, from there, generate some counterattack that left Rimenses in a bad position. Thus came the goals from Bernardo Cuesta and Iberico, who sentenced the series against a Cristal that never had an answer.

Pablo Lavallén Photos: Leonardo Fernandez / @photo.gec
Pablo Lavallén Photos: Leonardo Fernandez / @photo.gec / NUCLEO-PHOTOGRAPHY > LEONARDO FERNANDEZ

Melgar and the six keys to his meritorious qualification for the national final against Alianza Lima