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Analyzing the Nõmme Kalju vs. Viktoria Plzen 0-4

Angelo PalmeriComment

We have asked our tactician, Giovanni Costantino, to take a look at Kalju’s game against Viktoria Plzen and tell us what went wrong.


Regardless the final result, Nõmme Kalju vs. Viktoria Plzen was an historic achievement for the Estonian club: reaching the Third Qualifying Round of Champions League happened only once before in the country’s football history.
It was an award to the good job done by Kalju over the past years.

Obviously, there is a big gap between Kalju and Viktoria for a couple of reasons: the competitive level of Czech football back home is higher than the Premium Liiga one and Viktoria themselves have a good European experience. They know very well that details are really important at this level.

All the four goals came from set-pieces: important situations during a game of football if you consider that around 30-40% of the goals netted come from those. It is like a game into the game. We can agree that football is a sport where situations matter and on set-pieces all coaches are aware that is easier to implement some schemes to score goals.

Let’s have a look at the four situations that let Viktoria leave Tallinn with a robust 4-0 advantage on the return game.


In this situation Kalju was hindered by the fact that the number of Viktoria’s players in the box was exactly the same as theirs (picture below). As a consequence Kalju was compelled to man marking in the box without possibility of releasing a man outside of it.
In my opinion there are way too many players opposing Horvath take (two forming the wall and Wakui). They are way too much concerned about Horvath whereas at least one (maybe Wakui) must have guarded the edge of the box: Horvath could only cross the ball from that position, instead Limbersky has an open space to shoot.
Viktoria Plzen men in the box are very keen in creating space for Limbersky’s shot to go through, this is a proper and fundamental team work.
We can agree Plzen was lucky in the end considering the two deflections, however the situation was well prepared.



Here there are several and compound mistakes.
Last weekend, in the Gambrinus Liga, Viktoria performed exactly the same scheme against FK Pribam in their 4-2 away: the scheme is implemented by a short corner kick pass on the first post where a player prolongs it with a header to the second post for an upcoming teammate.
There were three players in that zone: Kimbaloula, Wakui and Voskoboinikov (picture below). Wakui was well positioned; Kimbaloula was too far from the touchline and Vosko, instead of being in Teleś box, should be guarding the edge of the main box some meters away of the smaller one.
Horvath, ca va sans dire, is completely free and asks for the ball repeatedly: apart from marking, situations like this should be immediately read however no one manages to.


When Horvath reaches the ball, there are thre Plzen players free in the box (picture below).
This is obviously never a good thing when man marking: your task is to take care and watch the player’s movement, not the ball. Kalju players are all going after the ball and forgetting to control the opponents.



Another corner kick, another mistake. Again Vosko is too close to the goal as in the 0-2 situation. Kimbaloula’s position is not useful for Kalju’s defensive set-up. A man marking would have been more suitable here (picture below)


Additionally (picture below) Duris is not closely marked, was basically totally ignore and let run all the action until he scored.



The last goal situation is very similar to the others (picture below).

The basic principle on set-pieces is always to guard the correct zone and/or implement man marking.
After 0-1 the man marking slightly improved, however when guarding the zone there should be at least two players.
If only one is available, he should always  cover the first post.

Especially in a situation like this when a left-footed player (Horvath) takes the corner kick from the right: it is physically impossible that he would be able to send the ball into Teleś small box as, on contrary, the trajectory is driven outwards. The same would apply to a right-footed player taking the left corner-kick.
In these situations, who is zone marking, must place himself some meters away from the goal.


In the following picture, there is a good example of man/zone marking mix on a corner kick (the screenshot is from an Italian Serie A game, AS Roma vs. AC Milan, corner kick is taken by AS Roma)


Goalkeeper’s box is covered by two AC Milan players (in white) A placed on the first post and B on the second.
It is important that A and B would communicate with each other, because B can observe developments in the penalty box much better than A and can warn him on what to do earlier.

Giovanni Costantino