Godoy Cruz faced Boca Juniors at La Bombonera for the Argentinian Superliga Matchday 17. It was Gustavo Alfaro’s first match at Boca Juniors’ ground since becoming Xeneize head coach. Godoy Cruz came into this match after heavily losing against River Plate (4-0) while Boca Juniors won their match against San Martin de San Juan (0-4) on the road.
Gustavo Alfaro made three changes in the Xeneize starting lineup from their away win against San Martin de San Juan, Carlos Tevez and Dario Benedetto replaced Ramon Abila and Mauro Zarate; while Lisandro Lopez played as centre-back for Emmanuel Mas forcing Junior Alonso to play at left-back in a 1-4-4-2 formation.
Godoy Cruz coach Marcelo Gomez made three changes in his starting lineup from their home loss against River Plate but Gomez changed the formation of the team from using four defenders to three defenders (Facundo Cobos, Diego Viera and Nahuel Arena).
When Boca Juniors were in possession building up from the back, Ivan Marcone was constantly dropping between both centre-backs to move away from the pressing by Diego Sosa and Jalil Elias in the middle of the pitch.
In the pictures (above and below) we can see how Marcone positioned between both Boca Juniors centre-backs (Izquierdoz and Lopez) to play out from the back.
Both Boca Juniors full-backs were pushing forward on the pitch, especially, Julio Buffarini on the right, to combine with Cristian Pavon. The majority of the attacks by Boca Juniors were on their right side of the pitch because Emanuel Reynoso tended to move inside the pitch instead of staying on wide areas while Junior Alonso didn’t join the attack as often as Buffarini because Alonso isn’t a natural full-back.
In the picture below, we can see the lack of width when Boca Juniors were in possession due to Reynoso drifting to the middle of the pitch and Junior Alonso not providing options on the left side which worked in favour of Godoy Cruz to stay compact when out of possession.
Boca Juniors scored their first goal on the 13th minute by Benedetto from the penalty spot after “Carlitos” Tevez was fouled clumsily by Cobos.
Godoy Cruz, when out of possession, formed a back line of five defenders because their wing-backs (Fabrizio Angileri and Agustin Verdugo) dropped deep to protect wide areas during Boca Juniors attacking phases. Their shape, out of possession, was mainly 1-5-3-2.
The previous set of pictures are examples of Godoy Cruz shape when out of possession where Gutierrez played as the deepest midfielder.
The home side didn’t create many chances during the match but Pavon and Tevez had two clear chances before half time to increase the scoreline. Both chances came from counterattacks started by Reynoso after Godoy Cruz corners.
Godoy Cruz, when in possession, changed their shape to a 1-3-1-4-2 formation. Facundo Gutierrez was their deepest midfielder, always playing in front of the back three so Sosa and Elias had the freedom to move on the pitch during their attacking phases. Also, Gutierrez gave defensive balance to the visiting side avoiding overloads by Boca Juniors players during counterattacks.
Boca Juniors, when out of possession, used two different shapes depending on Pavon’s position on the pitch. During many phases of the match, Pavon dropped to form two banks of four players in front of Esteban Andrada but in other stages, he stayed high on the pitch forming a front line of three attackers with Benedetto and Tevez to start counterattacks by exploiting spaces in wide areas with his frightening pace.
In the following pictures, we can see the different shapes when Boca Juniors were out of possession and how Gutierrez kept a defensive balance for La Tomba by positioning himself in front of the back three defenders.
On the 59th minute, Gustavo Alfaro made his first substitution of the match by replacing Tevez for Mauro Zarate which was not a surprise substitution due to “Carlitos” Tevez had a very mediocre match. Tevez lost two balls in the middle of the pitch that Godoy Cruz transformed in counterattacks where the crossbar and Andrada saved the home side from conceding.
Andrada was the man of the match for Boca Juniors by keeping a clean sheet after saving two clear chances on 1v1 situations against Angel Gonzalez inside the 18-yard box.
Santiago Garcia, Godoy Cruz skipper, scored on the 85th minute of the match but his goal was disallowed by an inexistent offside as we can see in the following picture.
On the 87th minute, Junior Alonso, left Boca Juniors with 10 players during nearly five minutes due to injury so Gustavo Alfaro was forced to modify their formation by dropping Agustin Almendra, who replaced
Reynoso, to left-back and Mauro Zarate to the left side of the midfield four as seen in the next picture.
Zarate, on the 93rd minute, sealed Boca Juniors victory by executing a free kick brilliantly. The next picture shows the exact position and distance from where Zarate scored the 2nd goal for the home side.
Boca Juniors won 2-0 but inconvincibly because they didn’t create clear chances; Andrada, the crossbar and a mistake from the linesman helped them to keep a clean sheet. Gustavo Alfaro needs to create a more consistent formula if they want to shorten the distance of 11 points between his side and Racing Club, league leaders in Argentina.