With 98 national team matches and 33 years old, Gallese is largely responsible for this 0-0 against Paraguay. It happens that, as the minutes of a decisive match like this go by, the goals get smaller for the strikers and the goalkeepers, Gulliver. Gallese was a Gulliver from the first half and Peru was calm there, enough to make the man-for-man changes that Juan Reynoso proposed when Paraguay was hinting at an avalanche. Tapia can leave his zone in the middle, Carrillo can go to the bank or Cueva cannot even be summoned, but Gallese, the number one in Peru, can never be absent.
The Peruvian team is left with 10 men and the obligation to reconsider for the complementary stage. (Photo: AFP)
/ NORBERTO DUARTE
Paraguay always had one like that. A rare footballer, who stood out from the usually rustic; a team that was going to the World Cups to present a Romerito or a Peque Benítez. The one who touched us tonight in Ciudad del Este is called Ramón Sosa Acosta and although he is just 24 years old and he plays in Talleres de Córdoba, he will soon cost millions. He was the owner of the first half based on two skills that the Barros Schelotto Twin favors: power in speed and tireless back and forth. What one imagined -Sosa going back through Advíncula- happened the other way around, and the Peruvian full-back had to chase him, almost without the support of Polo, at the limit of the cards. He always did the diagonal and could never anticipate it. When nothing was missing to finish the first half, Advíncula crossed it for the second time and Judge Matonte took out the red. The bottle that he broke furiously when he was going to the locker room was symbolic: Reynoso’s idea, to protect himself and wait for a counter, was shattered and he had to start over.
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How to analyze Peru? A correct way is to praise his discipline to defend. It is the Reynoso seal: the unprecedented Abram and Araujo exercised solidly, without Avalos, the Argentine soccer goalscorer, intimidating them. The same thing happened in the second half, when he backed Tapia as a libero and envisioned Corzo as a stopper on the right. A lighter one is to talk about our luck, which although it is not said aloud, also classifies: in the first half two clubs closed a 0-0 that, even with eleven, was a great deal. And at 86, after Paolo’s only shot that almost entered, another two sticks. If there is a way to define what miracles are about, this is it. Finally, there is the one by one evaluation. There the alarm. This Peruvian team lined up, at least, with 5 players with one imagine starters for any war: Zambrano, Calles, Reyna, Oreja, even Cueva. In this sense, the immense individual conclusion of the Blanquirroja’s debut has to do with the names that were -I am thinking of Carrillo, for example- below what is known when they play in their clubs. Peru, this Peru of poverty, needs its few good ones with rhythm, demand and, above all, competitiveness in the league to which they belong. Gallese is the opposite extreme: tonight in Paraguay, the goalkeeper of the national team maintains his plasticity, he was alert in Diego Gómez’s free kicks, in Miguel Almirón’s corners and dwarfed as he is, one of the three best goalkeepers in the Qualifiers in South America. And he plays in MLS, not in the Premier.
LOOK: Relive Peru vs. Paraguay LIVE by Qualifiers 2026 | VIDEO
“We are a family”, says Pedro Gallese, in front of the Movistar Deportes camera. It is, of course, the ratification of a spirit that was founded eight years ago -and arrived in Russia- and it is, above all, the message of a captain without a tape who thus supports a team that ended up with a surreal lineup, with an impeccable second half Tapia, with a remarkable Cartagena, with a silent leader Abram. This will be long and in the middle we will have many fallen. The important thing about tonight, beyond the 0-0 with one less, is that the Peruvian team still understands that it is the only thing that in this divided country, comes together. And that, as Gallese, the best footballer of the debut of the Reynoso Era, says, 10 points for DT tonight, makes us look like a family for 90 minutes.
They met at university and fell in love following the national team. Since then, the 2019 Copa América final, they have not separated anymore. That love that was born between them was complicit in their affection for soccer jerseys and today, the young engineers Miguel Montalvo and Steffi Roth have become the biggest collectors of the beloved Blanquirroja’s uniforms. More than 2000 pieces that they keep like a treasure. This is her wonderful story.
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