29 julio 2013

Campos de Acha 1-3 Santa Rosa: Ghost of the "B" press early on, but tactical switch gives Santa Rosa the upper hand

Hola mi nombre es Winston. Soy primo de Milton y vivo en Pittsburgh y como estoy de vacaciones acá Milton me llevó con su papá al partido ayer a Acha, que linda ciudad, nos sacamos fotos en el obelisco, comimos donuts que traje de Pittsburgh en el Torino del Tío Pumba y Milton me pidió que hiciera la reseña de Campos contra Santa Rosa. Más o menos esto es lo que salió.   

The setup  

Cisneros surprised many with his team selection, but Alou adapted to guide Santa Rosa to victory. The surprise was with the use of B. Herrera, who most expected to be omitted in favour of an extra defensive midfielder. In fact, it was Campos’s usual front four in a 4-2-3-1 system. Alou had faith in the fitness of Perez and Alzamendi, and dropped Pablo Alanis (who will be later in the field, substituting Wendy Benvenutto in the second half). He went on the attack with the fork Abrigo – Del Río and Wendy Benvenuto further forward.

Question number one in the preview was ‘Will Campos press?’ – a question that was answered emphatically within the first ten minutes. Santa Rosa was unfocused in the play out from the back, Campos got a center well shot by Jaime and Nicolás Herrera got the volley to score , giving Acha the first advantage as early as 7 minutes of the first half.

Campos´ Pressing   

That was the best possible start for the home side, and Campos’s pressing was, as expected, most obvious in the first 20-30 minutes of the match. They prevented el Albo from constructing good moves from the back, although the Santa Rosa defence admirably remained committed to passing football throughout the match.

However, it was notable that Campos’s attacking band of three had little impact when they won, even when given opportunities on the ball. B. Herrera was a peripheral figure, Díaz created little and was removed early in the second half, Jaime battled well but his end product was often poor. By asking his attacking players to work extremely hard without the ball, maybe Cisneros drained them of the energy they needed when attacking.

Santa Rosa starting shape   

Even taking into account the inevitable fluidity, Santa Rosa’s starting line-up was difficult to decipher. Taking the 4-3-3 as a base, Ariel Abrigo was wider than usual, Wendy Benvenutto was more of a number ten than a false nine, whilst Lucas del Rio started on the left but made diagonal runs across the pitch into a centre-forward position. The approach was reminiscent of the formation Alou used in Santa Rosa’s win at the Mateo Calderón (with Del Rio in place of Coqui Susvielles). Wendy did particularly well to occupy both centre-backs and often Rodríguez too – with Abraham always coming from deeper to try and overload the Campos full-back.

After around 20 minutes Alou switched players around Santa Rosa and moved his side tactically. He ordered Gonzalea to a side in a right-midfielder position, Pérez out to right-back, Alzamendi moved across, and Chavo Saez Dupó dropped to left centre-back. Del Río moved deeper to help out in midfield, and Santa Rosa were broadly 4-4-1-1.

The precise reason he decided upon this change is unclear, but it had various benefits:

1) It meant that Del Rio, identified as key in the preview of the match because of his ability to prompt good attacking moves, was away from the press of Wentenao and could start to feed balls into midfield. He also bravely continued to step out of the back when Santa Rosa attacked – he got tight to Urquiza so Abraham could move forward to the edge of the box.

2) N. Herrera had been a threat early on with the goal and a couple of decent chances, but by putting Perez on him, and often doubling up with both Perez and Alzamendi (plus the occasional help of Gonzalez), Alou almost completely nullified Nicolas’ threat. Jaime had a very quiet game, and Corral tried to spark him into life by moving him to the right in the second half, summing up how effective Alou’s change had been.

3) It gave Santa Rosa more width with the use of Abrigo, something that was desperately lacking in the early stages. He enjoyed the large amount of space between Corral and Arnuz and was constantly an out-ball on the break, most obviously getting down the flank to cross for Del Rio’s header or Wendy´s shot.

4) Least crucially, but nevertheless a factor, Del Río dropped deeper and seemed to know what he was doing more, particularly in the second half.  

Santa Rosa´s comeback

Santa Rosa push forward and got the draw at 28 minutes of the first half, in a great play from Ariel Abrigo that hit the crossbar and landed on the goal line, giving Lucas Del Río the chance for an easy headshot to the net.  And around the first quarter of the second half the way to the victory would be pointed by Alan Abraham, with a terrific midrange shot that Campos´ goalkeeper Sejas wasn´t able to hint.

Trailing one goal behind Cisneros’s side went flat and Santa Rosa now became focused upon ball retention. This was probably the stage when Campos were hoping to sit deep and remain compact (whether winning or drawing) but with the score in distress they had to be more proactive. The changes weren’t particularly inspired, but they did give Campos extra energy.

Anyway, Santa Rosa slowed the tempo of the game well, even after defender Gonzalo Dominguez was sent off, and sealed the result with a perky third goal delivered by Tapita García (who entered the match substituting Lucas Del Río) at 43 minutes of the second half.


Cisneros has often been criticized for not being brave enough against Santa Rosa – but here he went with an attack-minded side featuring his usual front four, and also looked to press from the front early on. The pressing broadly worked, the use of Wentenao broadly didn’t. The minimal benefit Campos gained from playing a central attacking playmaker was more than cancelled out by the amount of space Abraham and del Río often found; space he surely wouldn’t have enjoyed had Campos played an extra (more defensive-minded) midfield player. It’s impossible to know if the alternative formation would have worked – and it might have meant space for another Santa Rosa elsewhere on the pitch, but giving space to any other player is preferable to allowing Del Rio to thrive.

The Santa Rosa players who changed position all had excellent games – Saéz Dupó played the centre-half role superbly well, a job few other players could do; Pérez was seldom beaten by Jaime in one-on-one situations, and González motoring up and down the right was crucial in the second period. A tactical victory for Alou.


Posdata de Milton. Gran triunfo del albo que ahora queda tercero en la lucha por el provincial. Nos toca fecha libre pero si le ganamos a Anguil en la última estamos dentro pase lo que pase. Abrazos!

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