Universidad de Chile 6×0 Deportivo Quito: La U’s attacking master class

In last week’s Copa Libertadores last 16 second legs, we were treated to a veritable football feast. Each of the eight matches were filled with drama and laced with a dash of tension. We had Lanús and Vasco go all the way to a penalty shoot-out where the Brazilians came out on top, and Vélez versus Atlético Nacional and Fluminense versus Internacional were tight right up until the final whistle, both home sides ultimately being victorious.

In the Brazilian state of São Paulo, Santos grabbed the headlines with their indomitable 8×0 victory against shell-shocked Bolívar, but the prize for the week’s most impressive attacking display – even though they scored two less – certainly goes to Jorge Sampaoli’s Universidad de Chile side as they hit Deportivo Quito for six. Continue reading Universidad de Chile 6×0 Deportivo Quito: La U’s attacking master class

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Boca Juniors 2×1 Unión Española: Late Silva header saves Boca’s blushes

In my opinion, what makes the Copa Libertadores such an intriguing tournament is the constant clash of styles from around this fascinating continent. In Europe, the playing style is, on the whole, rather homogenised. For example in this season’s Champions League group stages, Group F comprised of Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Olympiakos and Olympique Marseille, four teams that play very similar styles in the popular 4-2-3-1 formation.

In the Libertadores though, tactical variation is alive and well. In fact, it is very rare for a Copa Libertadores match to include two teams from different countries playing the same formation. Continue reading Boca Juniors 2×1 Unión Española: Late Silva header saves Boca’s blushes

Atlético Nacional 3×0 Peñarol: Verdolagas continue to impress

After a brief pause in operations, Game of the Week returns to run the rule over Tuesday’s Copa Libertadores Group 8 clash between Atlético Nacional and Peñarol in Medellín. After an impressive start to their group campaign, the home side just needed to avoid defeat in order to seal qualification to the knock-out stages, while the underachieving Peñarol were already eliminated going into this match, looking to exorcise the demons of the 0x4 home defeat in the reverse fixture.

This turned out to be yet another admirable performance from Santiago Escobar’s Verdolagas as they secured a comprehensive three-goal victory in front of their home fans, securing their qualification and putting them atop Group 8 with eleven points in five matches. Continue reading Atlético Nacional 3×0 Peñarol: Verdolagas continue to impress

Game of the Week: Arsenal de Sarandí 1×2 Boca Juniors

Another Copa Libertadores tie for Game of the Week and from last week’s all-Brazilian clash between Santos and Internacional, we go to an all-Argentine affair as Arsenal de Sarandí hosted giants Boca Juniors in El Viaducto.

Boca, the undisputed champions of the 2011 Apertura, came into the match on the back of two consecutive defeats (the last time that happened was in March 2011) and it appeared that cracks were beginning to appear in Julio César Falcioni’s previously watertight Boca team. Continue reading Game of the Week: Arsenal de Sarandí 1×2 Boca Juniors

Game of the Week: Santos 3×1 Internacional

Rarely in the world of football are us fans treated to so many wonderful matches in the space of a single week. From Marcelo Bielsa’s superb Athletic Bilbao side and their spectacularly dogged display in Manchester, beating United 3×2 in Old Trafford, to the epic 4×4 draw between Godoy Cruz and Atlético Nacional in the Copa Libertadores, a classic tussle between attacker and counter-attacker.

Even more rewarding however, were two virtuoso performances from two of the world’s best forwards, almost singlehandedly leading their clubs to victory. First of all, the undisputed best player on the planet, Lionel Messi and his record-breaking five goals in Barcelona’s 7×1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. The world looked on as Messi took apart the Leverkusen defence time and time again, before some of the game’s biggest personalities indulged in panegyrics over the 24 year-old, speculating over whether he really is the best of all time.

That very same evening, across the Atlantic Ocean, South America’s best put on his own show in the continent’s Champions League equivalent, the Copa Libertadores. The tie in question was Santos x Internacional, a crucial all-Brazilian clash in Group 1 between the two previous winners of the trophy. The player in question was none other than Santos’ spiky haired winger Neymar. Continue reading Game of the Week: Santos 3×1 Internacional

Game of the Week: Atlético Nacional 2×0 Universidad de Chile

Another week, another game. This time Game of the Week heads to the north-west of the continent to the Colombian city of Medellín. There, nestled in the Aburrá valley, a noisy crowd packed in to the Atanasio Girardot to witness a superb game of football. But first, some back story.

It is easy to forget today that back in the 80’s and early 90’s, Colombian football was one of the biggest forces on the continent. While the Cali and Medellín drug cartels operated almost unopposed, the country’s infamous drug lords pumped their dirty money into the game, and into their favourite teams. Continue reading Game of the Week: Atlético Nacional 2×0 Universidad de Chile

Game of the Week: Vasco 1×2 Nacional

It’s back! That’s right, Game of the Week has returned for 2012 to bring you plenty of in-depth analysis of some of South America’s biggest matches each week. An early warning is in order however, as during the first half of the year this section will be very Copa Libertadores-heavy. Focussing on this wonderful tournament gives you all a chance to have a look at a variety of the continent’s best clubs and observe the fascinating tactical battles between them.

Apologies for the delay in this particular Game of the (last) Week, but from now on I will be striving to post these up on the day after the match (usually Wednesday/Thursday/Friday).

Also, I’ve changed the design of the tactical diagrams, I thought that this style looked a bit cleaner considering the colour-scheme of the blog. I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know what you think in the comments section below. Continue reading Game of the Week: Vasco 1×2 Nacional