Bengaluru FC – Dempo Sports Club
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Guest column by by Yogesh Maurya (Football coach). Yogesh talks about Bengaluru Fc’s tactics they employed against Dempo Sc
Within 12 minutes of the opening whistle, Bengaluru FC had scored what would prove to be the game winner, and on balance of play, the final result of 3-1 to BFC was well deserved. Technically, if we look at the first 2 goals, Dempo failed to step up and challenge the ball despite multiple players having opportunities to do so. Remember, when we say the ball scores in football, we simply are reminding ourselves that it is the ball that crosses the goal line when a goal is scored. Sounds simple right? Well despite all the tactical punditry that engulfs our beautiful game today, the actual decisive plays in the moment come down to often simple choices and actions. So if the defending team does not challenge attempts at goal, especially against a team with the finishing talent of BFC, one would not be a tactical genius in telling you that it is a risky approach.
To our technical fraternity that likes breakdowns…here we go: BFC was in their usual 4:3:3 formation, with Menyongar as the single holding midfielder. Dempo was in a 4:2:3:1, the difference to BFC’s formation being the two holding midfielders we often call a double pivot. So what that translates into is BFC’s front five of Rooney, Chhetri, Beingaicho, Hanghal and Caldeira against Dempo’s back six. 5 v 6 means Dempo has a free man, which often was one of the centre halves in Honda or Colosimo. How does it help to have the extra man? The extra man is often ineffective to say the least if defences do not rotate when there is a breakdown and step up to the ball…translation, if the defence stands around and ball watches, and backs off of players giving them too much room, they will be conceding more often than not at this level.
The First Goal:
Let’s look at the first goal. Firstly, absolutely brilliantly struck by Hanghal into the top corner. Great technique and composure on the half volley; settled the ball with one touch, kept his knee over the ball, balanced his body with his left arm, and locked his ankle in a fluid strike. It is awesome to see that type of execution live! Striking a football clean, with pace and in the right direction is very similar to a beautiful fluid golf swing…if you over swing, the ball often ends up with the wrong trajectory and distance…same in football. But, from the other side, Dempo has to be disappointed as not less than 4 players could have confronted the strike but chose to give Hanghal way too much room.
Contrast that with Johnson and Osano…have we seen them backing off especially that close to goal? Not once. I will always take a defender that has the confidence to stand up to an attacker aggressively and may get beat, as opposed to one that backs off because he is unsure of himself. Let’s go even deeper in the sequence of events that lead to the goal…first mistake by Honda: allows Rooney to receive the ball inside the 18 yard box on a bounced throw-in. Second mistake, Players watching Rooney and not anticipating. Colosimo clears the header which lands at Sanghal. 3rd mistake…repeat of the 2nd mistake…players watch Hanghal settle the ball and strike. When Hanghal struck the ball, not even including the goalkeeper, Dempo had 8 players in or at the top of the box compared to Bengaluru FC’s 4!
The Second Goal:
On the second goal, the first error by Dempo was letting the ball bounce like that again near the 18 yard box despite having six players back and four behind the ball! Even after the bounce, instead of attacking the ball and clearing it, Dempo’s right back allowed Chhetri to challenge him. Contrast with BFC. When do Johnson and Osano ever let a ball bounce? Have yet to see it. The results are clear. After the keeper makes a brilliant save on Chhetri, the ball ends up with Rooney at the top of the box and an absolutely clinical finish! Look at the numbers…Dempo had four players in the box compared to BFC’s two! Just outside the box, Dempo has three players back compared to BFC with one midfielder high.
The Third Goal:
On the third goal, more of the same. Honda backed off Caldeira who was able to play Rooney through…Rooney again makes no mistake (though I am sure he will be the first one to tell you the keeper gave him way too much of the far post). Doesn’t mean it’s easy! Yes, Dempo seemed a step behind compared to BFC who started aggressively and hungry as usual. BFC has scored first in every single match this year. Credit to the coaching staff for their role in having the players ready from the opening whistle…that is the result of loads of preparation behind the scenes, not some accident and random luck.
Key midfield battle :
Hanghal and Caldeira winning out versus Dempo’s No. 6 Carvalho and No. 23 Raja.
John Menyongar :
Have not seen the stat book, but my ticker has that he did not turn the ball over a single time even successfully completing some of his riskier passes.
Sunil Chetri :
Liked the spring in his step and desire that created the 2nd goal…and he mixed it up. Though his yellow card seemed harsh, didn’t mind him showing that competitive fire all match long. Possibly his best performance this year as his National Coach – Wim Koevermans looked on.
Pawan Kumar :
What he lacks in height he must make up with positioning and footwork…just misjudged the ball on the goal by Dempo…for any goalkeeper, on any type of crosses, the most important factor is to be decisive. Once committed, he still might have gotten to it but in his doubt, he forgot to jump and instead peddled back when it was too late. No problem as I can assure you it has happened to much taller goalkeepers! The coaches will work on that in training.
BFC begin a run of road matches. Much is made of away games being more difficult than home games…the lack of fan support, the travel…but it is all a matter of perception. Whether or not the crowd is rooting for the player, the fact that there is a crowd, and an energy, it gives players a lift. And the travel? It allows the team to be together and focus without the distractions that often come along with home games. So it is really about how you interpret your environment, not how the environment interprets you! …it is still a football match with two nets and 22 players!
Yogesh Maurya :
Yogesh Maurya played Collegiate soccer for Columbia University in New York and was a United States High School All American, representing New Jersey in the US Olympic development program. In the last 4 years alone, he has spent over 3000 hours on and off the pitch coaching and studying tactics and youth player development. http://www.trianglefootball.org