lunedì 20 agosto 2012
Anzhi - Zenit: not much play
counter-attacking side. They showed it against Guus Hiddink's side. Here, however, they were active with and without the ball. With the ball on their feet Zenith's players tried to play a fluid game, trying to build, as the Dutch school teaches, triangles around the ball in the way to give two options to the ball carrier. Their midfield triangle play a huge part with Igor Denisov, Viktor Faizulin, and Konstantin Zyryanov ready to receive the ball from the defenders in the build up and with the last two having license to break forward. The primary goal both in construction and counter-attack phases were to reach the three men up top, specially the attacking players playing wider on the flanks. While the flankers was cutting inside, the full-backs Aleksandar Lukovic and Domenico Criscito moved up and down the line to give team the width. Despite his strengths rely on counter-attacks, Zent made some good action building up from the back. The first goal happened in that way: after the build up, the ball went on the feet of Luka Đorđević. He is the technical star, a creative, mobile player also able on the counter-attacks. In that play he went from his usual left side to the right flank, being unmarked by the Anzhi midfielders or central defenders. So he was free to play the ball towards Vladimir Bystrov, who assisted the upcoming interior midfielder, Zyryanov, who scored. While Zenit was building up from the back, Anzhi's approach, on the other side, has been more relied on provide long balls to the lone striker Lacina Traore - Samuel Eto'o wasn't here. But Anzhi's forward had a truly hard game in the first half, with Zenit centre-backs, Tomás Hubocan, and Nicolas Lombaerts, that defended very good. So Traore wasn't a good pivot able to hold the ball for the upcoming midfielders. Zenit wasn't able on the negative transition phase but Anzhi's counter-attacks were often imprecise. In the second half Anzhi started more aggressive, while Zenit stayed on its own half of pitch trying to play counter-attacks. After Hiddink's side reached the tied following a thrown-in play, the game became more balanced. At the end, the game was decided only by a good play made by Zenit and by a thrown-in, which Zenit defended poorly. Both teams showed a good physical shape and succeeded in stopping the opponent's counter-attacks. But while Zenit showed good plays on the ground, Anzhi was far from the best respect to buld nice actions with the ball on the ground and with the rivals sitting deep on their half of pitch.