segunda-feira, 19 de agosto de 2013

Vasco 2 x 3 Grêmio - Campeonato Brasileiro 2013

Vasco fails to impose themselves at home, and Grêmio wins the third in a row - second away - and enters Libertadores classification zone. Renato Gaúcho uses three at the back to nullify Vasco striking duo, and the key contest in the game comes from Vasco left midfield zone, Wendel versus Ramiro, with the Gremio player having a better game. Despite a Vasco late goal that fired up the end of the game, the team from Rio Grande played better throughout the match.

Warm Up

Vasco came into the game with a three game unbeaten run - 1 win. Grêmio came from two victories, one away at Bahia. Vasco is without their main holding duo: Sandro Silva and Guinazu. Also Bernardo is injured. Grêmio also had key players out. Elano, Adriano and Vargas were injured, and young center-back was on suspension. Also, the center back Cris was sold from Grêmio days before the match, and ended up playing after an Jomar injury. He did not played very well, with a crucial error in the first goal of the match.

3-5-2 vs 4-2-2-2 - a width problem.

Normally, 3-5-2 has a problem dealing with opposition wingers and fullbacks overlapping. But when the other team doesn't have quick wingers, it can be very effective. Then, all the width is supposed to come from fullbacks - in the 4-2-2-2 - and wing backs - 3-5-2. In this case, the advantage goes to the wing backs, that have an starting position high up the pitch, capable of pressing harder. This was the case here. Pará and Alex Telles played so high that they were almost real wingers. When Vasco tried to pass out from the defense, they usually had to deal with a 4 man line - 2 forwards and 2 wing backs -  blocking the back line. This resulted in bad short passes and a lot of long passes, but André and Éder Luis are not tall and that good up in the air. Éder Luís is expected to give width, but as Grêmio played very deep into their own half, his speed wasn't an impact to the game.

Grêmio in a rough 3-5-2/3-3-4. Two advanced wing-backs pressing high. The forward drop back to the middle without the ball. Vasco very narrow upfront. Wendel x Ramiro the key duel of the game.
Kleber and Barcos

Grêmio attacking duo had an amazing match. They were very good offensively, with Barcos scoring twice, and Kléber participating in two goals, but also defensively. When the ball was with a Vasco center-back, one would occupy the other CB, and the other, Abuda. When recovering possession, both players could hold on to the ball and help bring other players to the game, using the "body game" wisely. Altough Barcos was more of an focal point, and Kléber rotated more, they were very fluid. Kléber got to set up both Riveros in the first goal, and Ramiro in the second, receiving with his back to the goal, turning and passing. Barcos scored the first after an huge error from Cris, and the second after dribbling past many opposition players.

Ramiro/Riveros x Wendel

The game key clash - at least in the first half - was in the midfield. As Souza and Rivero took care of Juninho and Pedro Ken, Ramiro was the freest man of the trio. He often played down the right blocking Henrique, with Pará lining up with the centre backs. Grêmio's block of Henrique and Fágner had Vasco resort to Wendel for an attacking threat from the back. He often got forward past Juninho to become an passing option in the left, enjoying space left by Ramiro. The first goal came from Riveros crossing, occupying the space in the right of middle, and marked loosely by Wendel. The second goal came from a free kick suffered from Abuda after receiving a pass from Wendel, in Vasco's left wing. Juninho took the shot and Alex Telles made an own goal. The third goal of the match came from a great long range kick from Ramiro, from the same right of middle position of the first one. Pará was out on the right and Henrique hesitated on who to mark, Wendel was still returning to position, which gave Ramiro all the space to score an splendid goal.

Vasco substitutes

Vasco switches to have more striking presence, but Gremio advances its lines.
After the half time, Dorival Júnior took off Éder Luis and Pedro Ken and brought Tenorio and Montoya into play. The logic was simple: As Grêmio were playing deep, if would be more useful to have height than speed in the final third. An Montoya was introduced to give the midfield more creativity. Grêmio adapted and played a bit higher in the pitch, driving Tenorio and André out of the box. In the other side of the pitch, the other striking duo worked hard in pressing. Which helped Grêmio cope with Vasco three offensive midfielders: Montoya, Juninho and Wendel. As the home team committed many players into the attack, Grêmio positioned itself to the counter attack, scoring in the 5th minute of the second half with Barcos.
From then on, Vasco tried, but Grêmio withstood the pressure. They didn't only defended deep, but pressed in Vasco defence zone. The home team last substitution was Marlone in for Henrique, with Wendel going to a left back position. With Grêmio pressing high, there was finally space for speed. Marlone and Montoya combined neatly to create a couple chances and stretch Grêmio's defense. Renato Gaúcho brought on brother Biteco to oxygenate the middle, and Guilherme set up and counter attack that could hav been the fourth goal, but Kleber missed it. Right after that, Vasco got a goal in a corner. Saimon, a CB, replaced Kleber, and Grêmio maintained the lead in the final minutes.

With Marlone, Vasco finally produces some width, forcing back the wingers. They build up momentum towards the end of the game.


Grêmio got their third victory in a row, two of them away, and went straight to Libertadores Zone. They have found a way of playing with the three-at-the-back system. With a very combative midfield and wing backs capable of pressing high up the pitch, their system works specially well with a team that has no natural width upfront. Vasco still relies too much on Juninho, but doesn't give him passing options or qualified team mates. Their set pieces are still the major threat. Wendel movement can be used as an attacking option, but you have to work on a cover for him. The attacking sector still needs more effective options. In the end, it was a victory of the system and of the players. This union usually appears in the results.

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