Fluminense – Flamengo: Both Teams Waste Chances To Grab Derby Victory (0-0)

An enthralling and energetic derby ended goalless as Fluminense and Flamengo battled it out for the crown of Rio de Janeiro. Thanks to an aggressive press and high turnovers, Flamengo had the upper hand early, but as time went on, Fluminense got back into the match and had opportunities of their own.

Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.


When it comes to derbies in Brazil, none are quite as big as the Clássico das Multidões, or Fla – Flu, as it is more commonly known. Like many football rivalries, this began when one grew out of the other, a disagreement between players led nine Fluminense players to leave and create Flamengo, which built one of the longest and colorful derbies in South America.

Despite being so close in terms of distance, the league table has these two teams at different ends. Flamengo have started the Brasileiro Serie A season where they left off the last, higher up in the table and beginning the campaign strong.

Fluminense are at the opposite end, 17th in the standings and have conceded the most goals in the league going into the derby. Fernando Diniz’s team have lost their first five out of seven games, but there has been a glimmer of hope recently; 17-year-old João Pedro leading the line, scoring three times in the league and recently hit a beautiful overhead kick in the 97th minute to equalize against Cruzeiro in the Copa do Brasil.

Due to a number of the squad riddled with injury problems, Fluminense made six changes in total from their last league game – a 3-0 defeat to Athletico Paranaense. They shifted from a 4-3-3 shape to a 4-2-3-1 system, with Airton suspended after receiving a red card. With Pedro joining the Brazilian under-21’s, 19-year-old Brenner started on the left wing.

Flamengo made four changes, with Gustavo Cuéllar, Giorgian de Arascaeta and Miguel Trauco all joining their respective national teams. Pará, Robert Piris and Bruno Henrique all came in to replace them. Jorge Jesus’s only goes into the dugout after the Copa América, so Marcelo Sallas remains as caretaker boss.


Flamengo have early opportunities

This edition of Fla – Flu started in intense fashion, one of the first passes of the game completely missing Yuri at center-back and almost giving Gabriel Barbosa access on goal. Despite Fluminense with the advantage in possession, Flamengo had great chances early on thanks to their intense high press.

Not only does Diego join the forward line, but Willian Arão steps out of the midfield line into the offensive line. This forms an energetic and experienced front three, highly pressing Fluminense center-backs and trying to force Yuri and Frazan out wide, out of position and pinned into the flanks.


Flamengo’s high press, aiming to pin Fluminense center-backs out of position and force risky passes.


The rest of the Flamengo team man-mark behind them, giving the player on the ball very little option when passing out from the back. When loose, risky passes were thumped forward from the back, Flamengo quickly won the ball back and built brilliant opportunities from these situations.

Gabriel Barbosa was a constant threat early on, targeting the inexperience of Yuri at center-back by making runs in his blind spot. Diego also smacked the post as Flamengo had a number of chances to take the lead early on in the derby.


A match of twins

In possession, both teams shared similarities as the match quietened down. Both teams looked to pin their opponents’ defenders on the flanks, and both attempted to hold the ball for long periods too. Fluminense dropped players back to help ball retention and they would have the upper hand in possession.

When losing the ball, they formed a press of their own, but instead of pressing potential options like Flamengo, Fluminense aimed to hold their shape a lot more and instead have pressing triggers A pressing trigger is a specific pass or movement by the opponent that draws out a coordinated team press. in the middle third. João Pedro roamed between both sides of the pitch, attracted to the opposition player in possession. When a pass was made, you would often see Allan or Danielzinho radically sprint forward onto the receiver.

This would often give Fluminense an overload in the middle and they would make plenty of turnovers in the middle third of the pitch. After withstanding a flurry of Flamengo chances early on, the underdogs certainly had a foot in this game.


Fluminense target the left

Fernando Diniz made an important change for Fluminense, his only one in the game. Taking off Brenner, Diniz brought Marcos Paulo onto the field, a much more natural winger. This not only brought Pedro into the game but gave Fluminense the opportunity to progress on the left flank.

Fluminense expanded a lot more, which stretched Flamengo out a lot more and gave Yuri and Frazan passing lanes to progress the ball. Paulo consistently roamed in the final third, The one-third of the pitch that is closest to the opposition’s goal. but in deeper positions he remained in the halfspace and would be an important link for Caio Henriqure on his runs forward.


Fluminense targeting the left flank, breaking through a wide Flamengo.


João Pedro completed this overload When one team has more players in a certain area or zone than the other team. on the left; when Fluminense were deep, Pedro targeted space between Léo Duarte and Pará, aiming to get behind the defensive line. Fluminese exploited this channel really well, but committing more players forward came at a cost.

When attacks slowed and broke down, Flamengo flooded players forward when they could and built some good counterattacking opportunities from it. With so much room between the lines, Éverton Ribeiro often had space and time to pick passes or rapidly sprint against the Fluminense defense.


Both teams waste chances

Despite both teams being impressive in attacking and passing sequences, Fluminense and Flamengo wasted opportunities to grab the derby victory and for different reasons. Flamengo built chances brilliantly, every attack with pace and pulling Fluminense players out of position consistently.

All that was missing was a final ball, they had no player in the final third who could exploit getting into these great positions, and chances came and went. Meanwhile, Fluminense were far too impatient when moving into the final third.

Fluminense wasted countless chances by aimlessly taking shots from miles out, they had better chances in the closing stages of the game, but the chance for both teams to grab the first Fla – Flu victory of 2019 came and passed.



Takeaways

Derby days are different. When they come, league position and run of form can sometimes seem completely out the window; we get a rich taste of football that just is not seen in every other match. That certainly implies here, Flamengo remain a vast number of places above their main rivals, but Fluminense had long spells on the ball and created so many chances.

A draw was arguably a fair result, but both teams will feel they had done enough to take all three points. A solid twenty minutes was followed by a stale 70 for Flamengo, whose shot count dried up after the early stages. Fluminense were very impressive on the ball, but persistently shooting from range instead of building more efficient opportunities let them down.

Nonetheless, an entertaining and energetic 0-0 draw, with an electric atmosphere to match.

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