FC Porto – Controlling the space in front of the defensive line

After the Portuguese “Clássico” on 4th February between FC Porto and Sporting CP, besides the sensational debut of Tiquinho Soares with the “Dragões” shirt, the goal scored by Alan Ruiz will remain in memory. 

From that goal, the issue that FC Porto have been coming across this season, especially in the last games, standed out. With direct consequences (suffered goals) to the results of the white-and-blue team, this issue relates to the control of the space in front of the defensive line, in this case the lack of it, and consequently to the space generated when they control the space in width –  players concentration in a pressure zone when the ball is on one of the side lanes.

The creation of that free space is related to Danilo´s behaviour, whom in addressing to that pressure zone in the side lane, provides a space release in his back. That space is not properly occupied (defensive covering) by one the midfielders, Óliver Torres in this case. 

In both situations, Óliver – Alan Ruiz goal (Sporting CP) in image 1 and Francisco Geraldes goal (Moreirense FC) in image 2 – instead of trying to give that cover in an efficient and quick way, tends to focus his attention and to direct himself to the center of the ball.

In short, Danilo´s and Óliver´s behaviour is the crucial point for the free space creation, being one of the defensive aspects that must be improved by Nuno Espírito Santo’s team.