Cruzeiro – River Plate: An open stalemate let down by indecisiveness (0-0, 2-4 on penalties)
Transparent midfield bases were at the core of both teams’ defensive problems, although neither side could raise any troubling questions with their narrow formations.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
Having met merely a week ago in the first leg, many spectators would have been hoping for an alternative score line following last week’s goalless draw. River Plate would have been one of those parties as they came away the unluckier of the two in the first leg. In the intervening days, these two sides failed to win their respective league matches.
Cruzeiro coach Mano Menezes, for the second week in a row, refused to shy away from making heavy alterations to his side. Only midfielder Ariel Cabral kept his place from the eleven that suffered a 2-0 defeat to Athletico Paranaense at the weekend. Even the 4-2-3-1 system was changed to a 4-4-2 shape for this encounter.
Marcelo Gallardo was also quite hefty in his switch-ups, as six players made way in their 1-1 away draw with Argentinos Juniors. This saw a completely refreshed midfield enter the frame for this second leg, as well as a further two changes in the right-back and center-forward positions. Gallardo’s 4-4-2 setup remained in parts but their possession-based setup bared more resemblance to a back-three.
River Plate assume early control but without much bite
The visitor’s attacking shape certainly differed from their defensive one. From the start, it . . .