Leganes boasts two of Real Madrid’s loanees — Andriy Lunin and Oscar Rodriguez — in its squad. When they both went out on loan this summer, we projected that Lunin would get the more playing time of the two, thinking he’d get a good shot to outperform Ivan Cuellar — which hasn’t been the case — while Oscar’s rawness wouldn’t guarantee him minutes. It turns out Cuellar has been undroppable given his form this season, and Oscar, who didn’t appear in the club’s first few games, has now been an important piece in Mauricio Pellegrino’s game-to-game scheme.
Tonight at Butarque against Alaves, Lunin and Oscar both started together for the first time in what was Lunin’s La Liga debut. The Ukrainian goalkeeper was shaky, to say the least. Alaves found it difficult to create much as Leganes closed passing lanes in their own half but they did have the odd chance through a cross or set-piece. Leganes did not concede, but Lunin looked nervy, even with the smallest of tests.
In the 22nd minute, he made a decision to come out of his net on a set-piece — completely missing the ball and leaving his net completely open. Alaves could not capitalize — nor could they when Lunin had the ball tangled in his feet in the second half:
It was a strange night for both goalkeepers, to be sure. The ever-reliable (and one of the most in-form and underrated keepers in the league for a good two seasons now) Fernando Pacheco was also uncharacteristically bad. In the first half, he gave the ball away deep in his own half and also nearly dropped a cross into his own net. He didn’t deal well on En-Nesyri’s goal.
None of this should be worrisome. It’s Lunin’s first La Liga match ever, and he’s clearly a very talented shot-stopper. He did try to pass his was out of every sequence if he could, and looked more commanding later in the game:
Oscar, meanwhile, was listed as a right midfielder in a 5-3-2 — a slight change to his usual left-side deployment. With Oscar, it’s never about what appears on paper. He roams without the ball a lot, and as the season has unfolded, we’ve seen Pellegrino ask him to stay as an outlet on the counter-attack more than help the wing-backs in deeper positions. He often pops up as a central forward, and becomes a target in the box when a cross comes in.
Oscar played 83 minutes tonight, had 51 touches, and completed 87.5% of his 32 passes.