Friday, 24 August 2012 22:21

Académica 1-1 Olhanense tactical breakdown

Excellent signs from Académica and Olhanense

ACA_OLH_Line_ups.jpgContrary to popular belief, there's much more to football than the top three or four teams in our country. Therefore, is proud to open up its scope and pay closer attention to the other teams of the Portuguese league. In fact, it's high time we appreciated in detail the work of these teams' players and coaches.
ACA-OLH Line-ups_1.jpg
Starting line-ups
The first match of the Portuguese league's second round involved two teams with great potential, led by two bright, fiery, young coaches in Pedro Emanuel and Sérgio Conceição, enough to make many curious about this game's outcome. Indeed, the match did not disappoint and offered plenty of interesting issues to analyse - not least the fact that two teams aiming to play positively are just what the doctor ordered for the Portuguese top division.

Académica started off better and by the 10th minute, they had already had two very good scoring chances, both coming from the right wing. The Students were more aggressive on the ball and actually broke the tactical pattern that most teams abide by: rather than going with a more traditional 4x2x3x1, Pedro Emanuel arranged his team in a 4x3x3. Not only that, but he was also daring by instructing Flávio Ferreira (Académica's holding midfielder) to drop back, much like Javi García has done for Benfica, and be the linchpin for their attacks. With that formation, both Rodrigo Galo and Hélder Cabral were able to play higher up, benefiting from the intelligent moves from Cissé and Marinho.

Babanco (red) was not Conceição's safest defensive bet.
Here he does not even provide the correct defensive coverage.

By not standing between the attacker and his goal,
he exposes the team to the outcome of Maurício's aerial duel.
With Rui Duarte stranded up front just off Yontcha, Fernando Alexandre and Jander clearly had too much on their plate. Académica's wingers would often drift inward and confuse Olhanense's marking assignments. In fact, the full-backs were not sure whether they should track them inside or leave them to be marked elsewhere, which paved the way for many attacking raids from Rodrigo Galo (in the first half) and Hélder Cabral (in the second half).
By coming inside, Académica's wingers overloaded the centre,
opening up space for their fullbacks' forrays.
Olhanense, in turn, seemed a tad lost at times, particularly because their most cerebral player, Rui Duarte, was playing too far from his preferential zone and forced to play with his back to goal. Furthermore, his presence that high up the pitch meant that Académica just kept piling up the pressure and winning back the balls repelled by the men from the Algarve.

Consequently, Académica's goal was hardly surprising, given the flow of the match. If anything, it probably should have come earlier, since by then Olhanense were looking better and more like their usual selves. Conceição replaced the ineffective Abdi with David Silva, a substitution that would eventually pay off.

Despite their honorable attacking intents, Académica need to improve their transitions into defence - they often commit too many men forward, away from the ball, which tends to leave them vulnerable at the back - and learn to control a match. Even though they did try to slow the tempo of the game, they weren't exactly successful in doing so and allowed a now bolder Olhanense to chase the result.

David Silva's goal served to show that the 4x2x3x1 currently favoured by most coaches needs mobility. Otherwise, it can get too predictable and static. By being more adventurous with his well-timed runs, Silva was more of a nuisance to Académica's defence, who now could not afford to worry just about Yontcha. When they did just that, Olhanense scored.


The two centre-backs (yellow and blue) have their eyes on Yontcha.
By tracking him upfield, they left their back exposed to Silva's diagonal run.
In conclusion, this was a very entertaining match that helped demonstrate the Portuguese league has plenty to offer if we just give it the opportunity. Also, it's worth pointing out that both these teams are about more than just the (necessary) points and actually try to play attractive football.

Finally, Marinho played a great game and may be off to greener pastures, Makelele is a relentless worker and Cissé is clearly someone to follow up closely. His first touch, movement and reading of the game are there for everyone to see. He's not likely to spend more than this season in Coimbra.

by Vasco Mota Pereira
Vasco runs
and, two blogs exclusively about football.
Comments (10)
10 Tuesday, 28 August 2012 20:35
Great material Vasco.

Academica are my # 2 team in the league, and I've always wanted them to succeed. Winning the cup last year was a big accomplishment especially since this club used to compete with professionals while only recruiting university students (back in the day, 1960's).

Tactically, I really hope Pedro Emanuel comes along. As a Porto fan, I'm not terribly fond of V. Pereira's stubborness and Emanuel could one day be a great Porto coach with his natural leadership abilities.

Great article, and please keep it up!
Great piece
9 Saturday, 25 August 2012 15:21
I'm really happy to see Edinho come through. I'm shocked that he's already 30. He has quality and could challenge for the scoring title.

As for Pereira scouting the game, he's would have been better served watching video of Guimaraes.

The "Big 3" really have must wins this weekend.
Interesting read!
8 Saturday, 25 August 2012 15:18
It's great to see some coverage of clubs outside the big 3. The smaller clubs may not have the same level of support as the like of Benfica or Sporting, but they still deserve some respect.

I've really tried to watch more games involving the "minnows" and I've been presently surprised with the quality of play of some of these clubs. Obviously, they're not at the same level as the big 3 or Braga, but there are still some quality players in the smaller clubs.

I'd love to see more coverage/tactical analyses of these games!
Thank you
7 Saturday, 25 August 2012 11:33
Thanks for your words of encouragement, guys.

@Ben I know Babanco had not played at left-back and it really was not my intention to criticise him, just state that he must learn that particular trade rather quickly, otherwise their opponents will slaughter him. If Hulk ends up staying, I think I know which side Vitor Pereira will focus his attacks on.

As for covering the little guy, we thought it was about time someone did it. If we keep complaining that almost no one in Portugal likes their own team exclusively (apart from the three big ones), it seems a bit silly not to talk about the so-called "minnows", since I believe there are good teams, players and coaches just waiting for their chance to shine.
6 Saturday, 25 August 2012 10:14
Great Work Vasco...Would love to see more of these.

@Ben rightly said pre-match that fatigue would be a factor for Academica having played twice in the space of 5 days. After letting the equalizer in , they struggled to up the ante despite the substitutions . Their classic No.10 Cleyton and winger Afonso have not quite looked the part yet and here again failed to test the Olhanense defence. Have to say Marinho/Galo combination was wonderful to watch . In the end a fair result perhaps but more of an opportunity lost for the Students specially after those two great early chances.
Vítor Pereira
5 Saturday, 25 August 2012 10:04
For those of you that missed the game, I posted a screenshot on Twitter:

Also Mdot I reckon he was just scouting Olhanense - Porto play them next weekend.

Good crosses/lob balls
4 Saturday, 25 August 2012 02:08
Both teams had several plays where they had very good quality balls that could have resulted in more goals for each side. Outside of that one mistake that cost Olhanense the goal, Ricardo looks really good and its great to be seeing him in our liga again.

On a side note they showed Porto's coach, VP, in the stands watching the game. I can't really see a replacement on either of these teams for Pereira, Hulk (supposedly going to Zenit), or Moutinho (talks of him going to Tott).
3 Saturday, 25 August 2012 01:46
it Seems,He looks sharp in academica right now..Wow...3 Goals in 2 games,,we'll see whether he can score a bunch of goals for academica this season?,,no need to return to malaga i think
2 Friday, 24 August 2012 23:50
Nuno Reis was an unused substitute - he played 90 minutes last week but with Maurício back from suspension, he gave way.

Great stuff Vasco, nice to see some coverage of us little folk.

I thought Babanco was OK for the most part - given that he's never played at left back before joining anyway. We've found it impossible to replace Ismaily - Vítor Vinha is the only other left back at the club, and he's done nothing since joining a year ago.

Still, a good game like you said, and a fair result.

1 Friday, 24 August 2012 22:32
did nuno reis play in this game what a prospect he is for the selecao in a few years or even months