Most people that like football must have heard at least a dozen times that tactics don't win matches, since they're nothing more than drawings on paper. However, even though it is not my intention to dispute that every system and its dynamics are valid, there are tactical arrangements that lend (at least theoretically) a more rational occupation of space to the teams. This match offered a classic clash between Braga's 4x3x3 and Guimarães' 4x2x3x1, which soon became apparent would evolve into a 4x4x1x1, in practical terms.
- 1. The tactical battle:
|A simple movement between three players created a scoring opportunity|
- 2. The battle of goalkeepers
Any discussion around tactical arrangements, options or dynamics within the match is absolutely pointless when a team find themselves losing on the third minute due to a mistake by one of their players. When that same player (particularly in a position as sensitive as goalkeeper) repeats the same mistake after just 15 minutes, the team tend to show a lack of confidence and play fearfully. On the other hand, Braga's 'keeper Quim showed how much of a difference a wiser player can make, given that he too had the same tendency to leave goal rather extemporaneously.
- 3. The defensive transition
One of the things Leonardo Jardim's Braga is excelling at the moment is the defensive transition - i.e., the moment immediately after losing the ball. Indeed, Braga's reaction to losing the ball is becoming more and more evolved, not only by being successful at averting the opponent's counterattacks, but also by getting the ball back further up front. In the example below, pay attention to how many Braga players are near the ball, which had been lost a few yards and seconds earlier. This moment, frequently disregarded by coaches, is often one of the key differences between average and mature teams.
|Rapid reaction to losing the ball|
Even though the final result was harsh (4-0, with a Guimarães players sent off before half-time), these three factors help showing that, even without the sending off, Braga would always be closer to winning the match and, by doing it, claiming their place in the title race.