Yerry Mina was in terrific form on Friday night as the Everton defender helped Colombia get their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign off to an impressive start with a 3-0 victory over Venezuela.
Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel fired the hosts into a commanding lead inside the opening 26 minutes, before Muriel rounded out the scoring deep into first-half stoppage time to put a major dent into Venezuela’s hopes of reaching their first World Cup after years of falling short.
Mina, meanwhile, opened the affair in the heart of Carlos Queiroz’s backline alongside Tottenham Hotspur’s Davinson Sanchez as he earned his 25th international cap, and ensured that his side would not be beaten with a brick wall-like display.
The £18m-rated Everton ace, who has started each of the Toffees’ Premier League fixtures thus far this term, may not have officially registered any successful tackles against Venezuela but he managed to note five clearances, blocked four shots, made one interception and won two of his four aerial duels, per SofaScore.
The former Barcelona defender further helped Colombia take control of proceedings with a whopping 90 touches, from which he played a staggering 77 accurate passes from 79 attempts for a 97% completion rate, including four completed long balls from five attempts.
Mina’s display at the Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez will have encouraged Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Everton’s clash with inner-city rivals Liverpool on October 17, having already questioned the 26-year-old for his performances this season.
Speaking after Everton’s win over West Bromwich Albion last month, Ancelotti offered the brutal assessment of Mina when he brandished the centre-half’s perfromance as “average” after a shaky start to proceedings at Goodison Park.
“Yerry had an average game,” Ancelotti said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo. “I think he could be more aggressive and do more with the ball.
“The only aspect we have to look at is him being more aggressive when he can press the opening.”
Mina bounced back from those comments to impress the Italian against Brighton & Hove Albion when Everton returned to home soil last time out, with the former Chelsea head coach noting: “The performance was really good defensively, he never had problems, he had good positioning [and] scored a goal which was really important.
“Like the others, he is growing in confidence. I think his performance was his best performance in this period of the season.”
That confidence was on show again for Colombia, which would surely have further solidified Mina’s position in Ancelotti’s plans ahead of the Merseyside Derby when Premier League football returns.