Atlanta has managed to earn another win after the Merlo draw, on a pending game from early February, to reach Nueva Chicago at the Top. With a heavily congested schedule up ahead, the team seems focused not to let go, but injuries have started affecting the roster.
On March 5th, Atlanta won yet another tactical battle against ex-Atlanta manager Sergio Rondina’s Villa Dálmine team, on the way to promotion, on a pending game from February 2014 that was suspended at that time due to heavy rains in the Buenos Aires zone. What’s there to it?
Strategy. Cassano is insistant on his 4-4-2 tactique deciding to play the same team that drew Deportivo Merlo on the previous weekend, scoring a way to settle the team and to give continuity to the scheme. Yet through the game, the changes made, seem to incline that at some point the time could go back to the 4-3-3 tactic sooner than later. Galeano played a superb game until he was taken off due to a harsh tackle, and was subbed by Leandro Guzmán, turning the formation into a fake 4-3-3 as Guzmán usually plays as a left winger rather than a left midfielder due to his almost non-existant deffensive skills. Guzmán’s coming into the game is usually an indicative of a need to press forward on the field, and with Atlanta winning 2-0, Cassano must have felt the need to “step on the accelerator” as in the second half the team did not manage to get so many chances against Gómez’s goal.
A patched yet solid defense. Atlanta’s most worrying aspect of the team is defense. Not necessarily because their performances haven’t been spectacular throughout the season, but because too many players have gotten injured (Emanuel Francés, captain and leader who may be coming back for the midweek schedule against Temperley, after more than 20 days of not playing due to a ripped calf muscle, and Nelson Gonzalez, also away for the last week due to -yet another- ripped calf muscle). Peláez coming into the box rather than staying on the sides has been a positive change, as he has managed to patch momentarily the absence of the naturals in the position with sober, well timed and focused performances- not showing particular brilliance but enough stamina and attention against two teams (Merlo and Villa Dálmine) who do not possess particularly gifted attackers. This weekend’s performance against Fénix will test the defense sure enough, with goalscorer Marcos Riquelme (FX) testing Atlanta’s back at their own turf.
Rondina’s tactical inaccuracies. Rondina, throughout his history at Atlanta, has been criticised frequently for some (or many tactical) bets that have turned to be errors. The 4-3-2-1 tactic played on the 2012-2013 season may be considered a mistake as it was deemed a tactic with no offensive intention, with a much richer-in-variety Atlanta team back then, that played Ferreiro, Mbombaj, Segovia, Gagliardo, Suarez, Henneberg, Soriano and a boatload of players that have left the club since. There was a far more wide variety of players per-position at that time at the club than now, and Rondina at that time strived to play that way with a tactic never (or seldom, at best) used by a team that since 2011 had either played 4-4-2’s or 4-3-1-2’s. Another items that came into criticism was his order that two men went to send the corner kicks, as to drag defenders out of the area to watch the two men handling the ball on corners or free kicks. The tactic seldom worked as most of the other managers usually kept their men within the area to watch over Soriano’s goal instincts.
Why do we make such a lenghty mention of Rondina’s inaccuracies? Because at this game he decided to play Victor Gomez (a born striker) as right midfielder, failing to play the same strategy in corners and free kicks, awkwardly putting Ferreiro as a defensive midfielder when he is an enganche (attacking center midfielder), losing Galeano, Maraschi and Nanía through his flank frequently in the first half.
The return of the ex team-mates. Villa Dálmine’s game against Atlanta was seeing familiar faces again as with the coming of Sergio Rondina to replace Walter Otta in Villa Dálmine, led ex Atlanta players Gustavo Mbombaj and Atlanta icon, ex-captain and favourite Lucas Ferreiro to meet their ex teams again. But they were not the only ones, as Raul Dudy Pérez also plays for Villa Dalmine, having played for the Villa Crespo side at the turn of the last century.
The game, itself?
Atlanta started the game by dominating the first half with fast plays by Maraschi and Godoy, led by an unusually awake Galeano. At the sixth minute, Galeano assisted Maraschi with a beautiful cutting pass into the box where Federico shot and hit the post, missing the first chance. After that there was a side-to-side battle for ten minutes with a worrying kick to Vega’s goal from Atlanta’s ex-defender Raul Dudy Perez at the ninth minute. On the seventeenth minute Maraschi gave a beautiful pass to Palisi that ended up in Gomez’s hands. At the 21st minute, Perujo shot a beautiful free kick that was kept out by Gomez for a corner kick. On the 23rd minute Maraschi ran out a play to send a floater to goalscorer Marcos Godoy, who hatched his first goal by calmly sending the ball by the right end of the post. And, on the 25th minute, Maraschi was fouled by Zamponi, and missed a penalty kick saved by Gómez’s right hand. By then there was dominance of the game by Atlanta all along.
At the 33rd minute, after a beautiful outside-the-area play, Juan Daniel Galeano placed a shot against Gómez’s post that would end in an unusual goal for Atlanta’s many times discussed midfielder. After a harsh tackle, on the 41st minute, Ferreira (VD) was sent out.
On the second half, the first minutes were of dominance by Atlanta, with Gómez keeping a sure goal from Godoy at the fifth minute. On the twentieth minute Guzmán led a good offensive by the left wing that was kept by Gómez, yet Villa Dálmine started gaining ground while not being able to turn over a game that, by the pasivity of both sides, was good as done. Yet there was some time for some chills as Gaeto shot a beautiful kick towards Vega’s goal on the 45th minute that was almost a goal.
Video Credit: Leonel Urman – Familia Bohemia
By another well rounded game Atlanta has evened scores with Nueva Chicago but is not near secured to continue on this path. With injuries looming, Cassano will have to ensure the team doesn’t let go.
Galeano has amassed yet another good performance away from home. What is it that makes it so difficult for Juan to perform properly on his home ground?
Perujo will miss the next game due to his 4th yellow card. With Pinto and Pelaez already on the pitch, who will substitute him on the right lane?
Rondina has lost yet another tactical battle with Atlanta’s Méndez- Cassano formation. Was it that he was tactically wrong all along?
March 5th, 2014. 21:00 hrs.
VILLA DALMINE (0): Agustín Gómez; Zamponi, Facundo Gómez, Ferreira and Mbombaj; Ferreiro (subbed on 60m by Ferreyra), Grecco, Víctor Gómez (subbed at half time by Rebellón) y Pérez (subbed on 60m by Figueira); Solís and Gaeto.
Subs: Fernández, Celaya, Acosta and Salvatierra.
Manager: Sergio Rondina.
ATLANTA (2): Vega; Perujo, Díaz Villán, Pelaez and Pinto; Galeano (subbed on 43m by Guzmán, injured), Palisi, Sardella and Nanía; Maraschi (subbed on 78m by Acuña) and Godoy (subbed on 66m by Lazzarini).
Subs: Ferreyra, Collavini, Castro and Alemandi.
Managers: Sebastián Cassano-Leonardo Magarelli.
Goals: 23m Godoy (A) and 33m Galeano (A).
Red- Ferreira (VD) at 41m.
Yellow- Mbombaj y Rebellón (VD); Perujo, Díaz Villán and Pinto (A).
Referee: Gonzalo López Aldazabal (7, good performance. Not many harsh tackles, good call on the fouls, the red card and yellow cards. Didn’t let the game get out of hand).
Linesmen: José Mendoza and Mauricio Lepanto.
Field: Villa Dálmine (Campana, Buenos Aires), in regular condition.
Weather: Clear, 25 degrees celsius.
Gate: Circa 1.500 people.
Photo credit: Laura Serkin – BohemioPress