HomeNewsChelsea-bound Kendry Paez lights up South American qualifiers Get hold of US

Chelsea-bound Kendry Paez lights up South American qualifiers Get hold of US

The opening spherical of South America’s World Cup qualifiers on the finish of final week belonged to the veterans, with Lionel Messi and Neymar the standout performers. However, in Tuesday’s second spherical, there was area for youth to steal the stage.

Simply 16, and sure for Chelsea when he turns 18, Kendry Paez is the most recent high quality product of the exceptional manufacturing line at Independiente del Valle, a bit membership from the outskirts of Quito that has developed the likes of Moisés Caicedo and lots of the Ecuador squad. Paez has been having fun with fairly a 12 months — scoring in his first sport in senior soccer, when he was nonetheless 15 and showing within the World Cups at Below-17 and Below-20 ranges — and now thrown into the cauldron of senior World Cup qualification.

He was a shock option to line up at residence to Uruguay. Paez had been a part of the Ecuador squad because the FIFA friendlies in June, however he had by no means performed earlier than and, going into this match, the consensus was that a couple of minutes off the bench can be the perfect he may hope for. As a substitute, coach Felix Sanchez began the teenage prodigy and are available the top of a 2-1 win, was very happy together with his choice.

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Paez operated on the suitable of a midfield trio. Left-footed however in a position to go both manner, there was a swagger and a method about his soccer, an off-the-cuff ease of accepting accountability to arrange the play, that was a pleasure to observe. He didn’t final your entire sport — that may have been an excessive amount of to anticipate — however by the point he left the match, with some 20 minutes to go, he had laid on the successful purpose.

Towards the run of play Uruguay had taken a primary half lead, Maxi Araujo working arduous down the left to arrange a chance for Agustín Canobbio. However on the altitude of Quito, Ecuador had been at all times favourites and took the factors regardless of watching all-time prime scorer Enner Valencia shoot huge from a penalty.

It was a set-piece that turned the sport — a nook struck from the left by Caicedo. Simply earlier than the interval one in every of Caicedo’s right-footed crosses was met by a towering header from centre-back Félix Torres. After which, within the second half, Caicedo began to differ the repertoire. He labored some quick corners, and from one in every of them he slipped Paez, his future Chelsea teammate, to the bye-line. Paez performed in a low cross and there was Torres as soon as extra, this time stretching out a leg to win the sport.

Ecuador’s first three factors sees them transfer within the desk to … no factors. They entered the marketing campaign carrying a three-point penalty for administrative errors within the Qatar qualifiers, and so this win merely serves to cancel out their punishment. The expanded World Cup imply that six South American groups qualify routinely for 2026, with a seventh going right into a playoff, so Ecuador are entitled to dream of Paez serving to them to extra wins on the way in which to World Cup 2026, and for a few years past.

Ecuador now finds themselves six factors behind the joint leaders, Brazil and Argentina; the one groups to have gained each their opening matches. They went in regards to the second win in contrasting kinds. Argentina’s 3-0 triumph away to Bolívia was extremely spectacular. The intense altitude of La Paz is notoriously powerful for unacclimatised opponents, and the world champions determined to not threat Messi. With out their talisman the younger midfield carried out with nice maturity, dictating the tempo of the sport and passing their manner via the Bolivian defence.

Brazil, in the meantime, had been a lot much less eye-catching of their 1-0 win away to Peru. They had been by no means in actual defensive hazard, however their passing had little of the fluency of Friday’s huge win over Bolivia. Neymar couldn’t produce the positive type he confirmed that evening, and amid a succession of passing errors the sport gave the impression to be drifting in direction of a goalless draw, which was a bit arduous on Richarlison, Brazil’s off form centre-forward, who thought he had headed Brazil into a primary half lead solely to have it chalked off for offside after an agonising seven minute watch for a VAR choice. Ultimately, although, it was aerial energy that carried the day, Marquinhos stealing the factors with a intelligent run in entrance of the close to submit to look residence a Neymar nook.

Behind Brazil and Argentina within the early desk are Colombia, who moved as much as 4 factors with a tough fought 0-0 draw away to Chile. After which, becoming a member of Uruguay on three factors, are Venezuela who opened their account with a 1-0 win at residence to Paraguay.

If the evening belonged to Ecuador’s 16-year-old Kendry Paez, then he has to share a number of the glory with Salomon Rondon, Venezuela’s 33-year-old centre-forward. The tragedy of Venezuela’s earlier marketing campaign was that they had been seldom in a position to name up their key goal man striker, who was both in China or England and was dominated out by COVID restrictions. Now, he could also be a bit previous his finest. However when Venezuela had been awarded a late penalty, he didn’t flinch. Paez can dream of many World Cups to return however huge Rondon has one likelihood left and he stored these hopes alive with a high-pressure purpose.

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