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Futsal Champions League Finals: Tactical Analysis... Part One!

As part of our rebranding, FutsalFeed 2.0 brings to our readers specially designed columns from eminent futsal personas around the world. Our first columnist, some time ago, was a goalkeeper coach Mr Dušan Matić and we advise you to read his interesting article on why futsal goalkeepers don’t wear gloves.

However, our first columnist on FutsalFeed 2.0 is an emerging young futsal coach from Croatia Antun Bačić. Now 30-years old, Bačić already had a noticeable success on Croatian futsal scene having led second division club MNK Ombla and first division MNK Square Dubrovnik. Recently, Bačić was appointed as a head coach of FC Split, the most successful futsal club in Croatia, which got relegated last season to the second division. However, with Bačić at the helm, Split giants are expecting a quick return to the elite division.

Bačić will be one of our columnists with special task on bringing you a tactical analysis of our game. One of his first analysis is the UEFA Futsal Champions League Final Four matches. In today’s column, Bačić discusses tactical aspects of two semi-final matches and we will now leave you to it!

Another Futsal Champions League comes to a close. Probably the weirdest one in history of the competition – during the 2020/2021 season we finally got a 2019/2020 champion. But we already know everything about that. Some individuals were denied for this great spectacle (e.g. Juanjo, who was Barça’s goalkeeper last season, but now plays for ElPozo Murcia and was not eligible to play), but let’s talk about those who were there.

                Two representatives of Russia and Spain. At the end of the story, Spanish finale and Barcelona as a champion of Europe. Four very interesting matches filled with nice moves, beautiful goals, tactical outwitting, fights for every ball and for every square meter of the court and lots of tension, literally up until the last second of every match. Let’s begin…

ElPozo Murcia – Tyumen 2-1

                In the first semi-final match, we saw a match with somewhat slower tempo, but nevertheless a very interesting one, which could have gone either way up until the full-time. Big reason for this was the Tyumen’s playing mentality. Due to a number of absentees (most notably their captain Antoshkin), and therefor limited rotation (only 9 players and 2 goalkeepers), coach Ivanov tried to lower the tempo of the match in various ways. Defensively they were very disciplined and positioned on the center of the court. While on attack, they used a goalkeeper (Brazilian Leo Gugiel) to create 5on4 game, trying to take advantage of surplus players on their side and create dangerous chances, but also to numb ElPozo’s players pressure on them. In 4on4 game they tried to push the ball as soon as possible to their pivots (Taffy and Bolinha) and be dangerous in their vertical game.

                On the other side, Diego Guistozzi’s team tried to impose itself in both directions. During the attacking phase, they used a system of four players in a line, where one of the pivots/attackers (Paradynski, Rafa Santos or Pol Pacheco) would end up as the most advanced player after a few team movements. In defense they tried to implement high pressure – a system in which they implement zone defense – in order to force the last line of Tyumen’s defenses on a mistake or to surrender possession.

                ElPozo dominated possession, but at the opening of the match it was the Russians that created better chances (Bolinha hitting a goalpost, Espindola denying Taffy). In time, ElPozo became more and more dangerous and after couple of missed chances (best one being when Marcel and Matheus were left alone with goalkeeper but missed) finally took the lead in 15th minute. ElPozo took advantage of a mistake done by Bolinha and persistent Matheus passes the ball to Rafa Santos who scores for 1-0.

                In second half we watched a very similar match. After one mistake by ElPozo’s Leo Santana, Tyumen’s captain Abramovich scores for 1-1 in 24th minute. ElPozo then adds more pressure and after a nice play, Alberto Garcia scores a deciding goal. Very exciting in the end, lots of 5on4 plays, shots, blocks, sliding tackles, Espindola’s defenses, but it remained 2-1 and ElPozo Murcia secures a spot in the final.

 

Barcelona – KPRF 4-3 (pen.)

                War. Best game of this tournament offered us a true drama. Fantastic teams, willing to run, dominate, with many fantastic individuals in roster. To me personally, it was a special appeal to watch the duel between, maybe the best player in the world Ferrao, and his compatriot Romulo. It was maybe the best defense on Ferrao that I saw in a long time (Nando also helped and did a solid job), but far from it that Ferrao was not in a “mood” (check out his goal for 2-0).

                Start of the match was pretty much even. Many half-chances and shots on goal on both sides. After one ball got taken away due to high pressure defense, Barça’s Lozano torpedoes the ball from some 12 meters under the crossbar and Barça takes the lead. Immediately after, one of many duels between Romulo and Ferrao took place. It looked like Romulo won this duel because Ferrao ended up on the surface, but then Barça’s pivot got up and continued towards the goal. With a nice toe punt shot from 8-9 meters, Ferrao scores for 2-0 lead. KPRF then applied more pressure and dominated the court. Literally in the last seconds of first-half, after a corner-kick, KPRF’s captain Romulo places a nice shot on a return ball and bring his team back in contention. 2-1.

                  In second half, KPRF applied even more pressure and put more energy in their efforts. They dominated the court, creating much more goal opportunities. Of course, Barça created their own opportunities as well, but one could feel an equalizing goal “in the air”. It is my impression that Barça was equal to KPRF when Ferrao was on parquet, and that KPRF was a better team when he was resting. In 30th minute, Aicardo lost a duel with Niyazov, who gave a nice ball to Asadov on an empty net and we’re back at the start, 2-2. We could have seen somewhat more careful mentality from both teams until the full-time. Extra-time festivities.

                Barça was the dominant side in the first-half of extra-time. In my opinion it was their best period of this match. They manage to crown their dominance with a nice goal by Esquerdinha, after a fantastic run by Daniel. In the second-half of extra-time, KPRF did not manage to impose themselves and had to put an extra man in the field.

And then – showtime. Exactly one minute before full-time (in extra-time), a big mistake by the referees. Adolfo sent one ‘stolen’ ball towards the goal, but Romulo put everything he had into reaching that ball. He touched it, first with his foot, then with his arm. Referees remained silent, although that would have been the 6th accumulative foul and a 10m freekick for Barça. Soon after, Adolfo was hit in the arm by the ball at the edge of 6m area and referee signaled a penalty 10 seconds before the time ran out. Nando was the hero from the spot and the match went to penalties.

KPRF’s Lin was the unlucky one, as he was the only one who hit the crossbar, while rest of the players found the back of the net. Sorrow among Russians, happiness among Spaniards.

 

That’s it for now! Second part of the tactical analysis of the UEFA Futsal Champions League Final Four by our columnist coach Antun Bačić will be on FutsalFeed.com tomorrow, so be sure to check it out once it comes out. Subscribe to our website to receive a message as soon as the article becomes live!

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Antun Bačić

Columnist

Antun Bačić

Columnist

This article was written by Antun Bačić, emerging young futsal coach, head coach of FC Split from Croatia and UEFA Futsal B License coach.