Argentina ratings v Ecuador: Resurgent Manchester United star connects with City rival

Argentinian Flag

Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria led the way as Argentina secured a 2-1 friendly victory over Ecuador in New Jersey, with Javier Pastore hitting the winner after a frustrating first half.

Sergio Romero (6.5/10) – Perhaps could’ve done slightly better on Miler Bolanos’ effort, yet was left exposed. Proactive in coming off his line, making life easier for the Albiceleste defence. Made a crucial flying save in the second half, holding onto the ball at full stretch. Impressive for a goalkeeper who hasn’t seen regular action at club level for months.

Facundo Roncaglia (5.5/10) – Nowhere to be found when Walter Ayovi was sprung to assist Bolanos. Too often poorly positioned and wayward with his passing. Showed why he is better deployed as a centre-back, his natural position.

Ezequiel Garay (6/10) – The more conservative of Argentina’s two centre-backs, staying deeper to play off of Mascherano as Tata Martino’s side looked to recycle possession. Failed to adequately mark Bolanos, standing too far off the striker and giving him time to lash past Romero.

Nicolas Otamendi (6.5/10) – Pushed up into midfield often, looking to spark attacks playing the ball out from the back. Comfortable on the ball. Kept Felipe Caicedo under wraps for the most part and didn’t make any glaring errors.

Marcos Rojo (6.5/10) – Sharp on the front foot in the first half, combining well with Federico Mancuello – but sometimes to the detriment of his defensive duties. Instructed to position himself very high up the pitch and thus saw Ecuador get in behind on multiple occasions. Did well to recover on several occasions, chasing down opposing attackers.

Lucas Biglia (6.5/10) – Solid playing alongside Mascherano in the double pivot. Pushed higher up than his compatriot, looking to link with Argentina’s trident and play the ball over the top for Aguero when possible. Continues to make a case for himself as an important ingredient for the current Albiceleste squad.

Javier Mascherano (6.5/10) – Argentina’s traffic cop in the centre of the park. Dropped in between the central defenders to pick up possession deep and dictated play. Isolated on the ball twice, but wasn’t punished. Made sure Ecuador had no easy avenues through the middle, though could’ve done better in the build-up to Bolanos’ goal.

Angel Di Maria (7/10) – Argentina’s main source of danger. Provided the corner that allowed Aguero to open the scoring. Started on the right wing, switching to the left in the second half. Nearly scored himself with a sensational curling effort and was the catalyst of the majority of Argentina’s attacking success. A much-needed positive performance after disappointing against El Salvador.

Javier Pastore (7/10) – Not involved enough in the first 45 minutes, marked tightly by Ecuador’s midfielders. Grew in stature after the break, finding more space by dropping into pockets further up the pitch. Denied at close range by Alexander Dominguez, but got his goal with a well-taken volley.

Federico Mancuello (6/10) – A solid outlet on the left for 45 minutes, if unspectacular. Best linking up with Rojo or receiving diagonal balls to latch onto. Could’ve provided a sharper end product and saw his day brought to an end in favour of Roberto Pereyra, having picked up a knock.

Sergio Aguero (7/10) – Didn’t take too long to get on the scoresheet, left completely unmarked to dispatch Di Maria’s corner into the back of the net with ease. Could’ve received better service otherwise in the first half. Came close to bagging a brace as Ecuador tired, shaving a coat of paint from the post when one-on-one with the goalkeeper just moments before coming off for Carlos Tevez.

Substitutes

Roberto Pereyra (6/10) – Wasn’t able to fully express himself in 45 minutes of football, despite enjoying a good run of form for Juventus. Got involved in the attack, but didn’t produce anything telling.

Carlos Tevez (6/10) – Received a healthy roar of adoration after coming on for Sergio Aguero. Produced a few tricks in his 15 minute cameo, but had no clear cut chances.

Ezequiel Lavezzi (n/a) – Took over for Di Maria in the waning moments of the match, providing an outlet out wide.

Ever Banega (n/a) – Stepped in for Javier Pastore with 12 minutes to go, seeing out the victory at the centre of Argentina’s supporting trident.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch