quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

Fluminense 0 x 0 Olimpia - Libertadores Cup

Current Brazilian Champions Fluminense dominated possession throughout the game, but stopped at the Paraguayan defense and their own errors. The away team went into the game with nothing but the will to defend and keep a clean sheet, and they got just that. Fluminense had 72% of ball possession, yet failed to create clear cut chances. Now they'll face each other in the Defensores Del Chaco Stadium, Olimpia's home, with any tie with goals classifying the Brazilians

Warm up

After the Round of 16 of the Libertadores, there were only two Brazilian contenders left. Exactly the two that have never won the tournament. Fluminense beat Equator's Emelec, while Atlético-MG sent off São Paulo in yet another great exhibition of the attacking football that has Atletico as the team to watch this season. In the other games, Palmeiras - currently in the Brazilian Second Division - went down to Tihuana, losing at home; Corinthians lost to Boca Juniors with a great deal of complaints about the referee Carlos Amarilla and Vanderlei Luxemburgo's Gremio lost to Colombia's Santa Fé.

Fluminense will give more players than any other to the Seleção in the Confederations Cup. Fred, Jean - called as a right back - and goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri will be under Felipão supervision in June, even if only the first is a regular starter and scorer for the team. In this game, Fluminense were without Deco, suspended for a month for a accidental doping, and Thiago Neves, injured. So Wagner kept his place as the team maestro in midfield, and Rhayner was one of the wingers. The rest of the team was as expected.

Olimpia made two changes compared to the team that beat Tigre in the last round. Baez came in for Silva, and Salinas replaced Ariosa, who started in the bench. Olimpia finished the group phase with the joint best attack (together with Atletico Mineiro). They are one of the most traditional team in the competition, having played it 36 times, more than any other contender left in this edition. So they are used to playing this kind of matches, and it showed in this game.

Olimpia parks the bus, and Fluminense resorts to aerial play

When the game started, it quickly settled in a notable pattern: Fluminense with the ball, and Olimpia concentrating in putting man behind it. It was odd to see Olimpia abdicating of playing, considering they have one of the best offensive records of the tournament. But it makes sense, they won the last leg after coming back from a 2-1 disadvantage in the first game, using the home factor to its fullest. The stadium was full and the crowd never stopped singing and supporting, they suffocated Tigre to claim a 2-0 victory and seal the classification. So, even if they have scored 19 times against Fluminense  poor record of 8 goals scored, they went into the game hoping that they could decide it all in Paraguay.

First Half. Fluminense strong in the right with Bruno and Nem. Digao provides cover. Olimpia with a 5 man backline.

Fluminense plays in a 4-2-3-1. It started with Rhayner playing the left wing and Wellington Nem in the right. Fred is the striker and Wagner played in the hole behind him. Olimpia plays with a three man defense. It is supposed to be a 3-5-2 in normal games, but, given the way they focused in defending, it was more of a 5-4-1, with the wing-backs aligning with the center backs. In the middle, the three midfielders would have the company of the second striker, usually Salgueiro, and make a line of four players. Even striker Bareiro would drop deep and try to block passes out of Fluminense.

So Fluminense dominated possession while Olimpia focused on denying them space inside the box and in front of it. The Brazilians used their full backs intensely throughout the game to try and make overloads in wide areas - Bruno in the first half and Carlinhos in the second. That worked to some degree of success  and Fluminense ended with 22 aerials ball, but the fact that there were only Fred to deal with three center backs made it harder to profit from these kind of plays. They had a great chance with Leandro Euzebio at 5 minutes of game, but he wasn't quick enough to shoot.

The game follows Nem.

In the first half, Wellington Nem played in the right, and combined with Bruno to make overloads in that sector. Bruno's presence in the attack was intense, and the yellow card he got for penalty simulation highlights this. Fluminense would keep Carlinhos quiet in the defense, making Digao shift to the right and Euzebio in the center, almost as a three man defense  with Bruno high up. Fluminense had the territorial advantage, but weren't patient enough to keep the passing game and try to find gaps in the defense  More often, Bruno would stay wide and Nem would come inside to a crowded area, making Olimpia's job easier.

Beginning of second half. Flu plays more through the left with Carlinhos and Nem, who switch sides.

In the second half, Nem changed sides with Rhayner and went to the left side. Bruno immediately became more quiet and Carlinhos was the full back most involved in Fluminense attacks. Together with Nem and Wagner - all left footed players, they explored that side of Olimpia's defence, and made good combinations, although they kept resorting to aerial balls that Fred was able to profit from. They played in high intensity the whole game, but should have more patience to rotate the ball and find spaces.

Substitutions and one expulsion.
Olimpia changed Salgueiro for Castorino in the half time, and kept their shape, but started the second half trying a little bit more to reach Fluminense goal. They got to scare the crowd one or two times, but that was it for them. Later on, Baez injured himself and was replaced by Ariosa, who went to left-back, with Salinas going to the middle. The latter had a great game, tirelessly chasing Fluminense forwards throughout the game. Finally, Gimenez, the right back, was replaced by Perez, with Salinas going to the defense, and Perez coming in the middle. The changes in the right side of Olimpia's defense show how much Fluminense was focusing down that side, and how they were trying to maintain fresh legs in critical areas

Fluminense made good attacking substitutions. First, acknowledging the lack of goal scoring power with only Fred against three defenders the coach put Rafael Sobis at the captain side, replacing right-back Bruno. Rhayner became the right-back, playing much more advanced, naturally. Rhayner is a very energetic forward, having great speed. He is often employed much more for his work rate than for his pure technical skills. Indeed, he has great difficulty scoring goals, but is valuable tactically. Playing as a right-back, he had a great chance after he received a pass from Fred. But he ran with the ball past the defense and the goalkeeper, and lost the angle to shoot, wasting yet another chance.

Sóbis on for Bruno. Rhayner plays right-back, but very advanced. Jean remains in the middle to provide energetic runs.

The second substitution was intended to put a brain into the game. Felipe - 35 year old that already won the Libertadores in 98 - came in for Wagner. He played in a left of center position, alongside Jean - who did not went to play as a right back, even if he was called up to the national team in that position. Felipe provided more incisive passing and thinking, and enjoyed playing with a lot of runners around him. He set up beautifully Wellington Nem for a goal opportunity, but the winger wasted it by being to hasty and shooting wide of the goal.

Olimpia still had to deal with Aranda expulsion, after he committed a foul in a rushing Rhayner. There were 10 minutes left in the clock. Abel made one last substitution, bringing young striker Samuel in for holding midfielder Edinho. Fluminense became something of a 2-4-4, with the quartet of forwards in Nem, Fred, Samuel and Sóbis. They kept on pressing, but Olimpia resisted and eventually got the result they wanted.

Olimpia with 10 men. Samuel on for Edinho. Felipe plays in the left, looking to play killer passes to Nem and Carlinhos.


Fluminense played great and intense football, but Olimpia denied them space, playing very deep against the opposition quick attackers and surrounding Fred with three defenders. There were a lot of misfortune in the brazilians display. They didn't have anyone to slow them down and think the game until Felipe got in. That shows how much they miss Deco. Now, they'll have to withstand the pressure from the Paraguayans supporters to achieve the semifinals.

This Brazilian team is the current national champion, and has showed they are strong and determined, but there is something lacking from them this season. The runners-up, Atletico, seem a much more complete team. If for Ronaldinho's team the question is "Will they keep this level of performances until the end?", for Flu it is "Will they reach their best before the end?"

0 comentários:

Postar um comentário