Monday, March 26, 2012

The best way not to mark Hulk

Last Sunday's match between Paços de Ferreira and FC Porto for the Portuguese championship gave us a perfect example of how not to defend - particularly a strong, fast player like Hulk.

Paços de Ferreira defend poorly and FC Porto end up scoring.
Notice the huge amount of space behind both Paços players (yellow area)
It is common knowledge that, if you have two players defending an opponent, one should go for the ball and the other one should provide coverage, in case the first defender gets beaten and/or to warn the opponent that the space behind the first defender is taken. However, it is one thing to say it or write it - and a very different thing to do it in an actual match, requiring hours of training and coordination.

In this particular play, Hulk goes up against two Paços players. The first one (red circle) is doing the right thing by protecting the middle (and simultaneously Hulk's strongest foot). However, the second defender should be providing coverage for the first one, with the arrow indicating where he should be, ideally. Because he wasn't, Hulk was able to speed up, get past both opponents and cross for another defender's interception into his own net.

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