Second Half Analysis: Nepal V Philippines — What went wrong?

Hello again, and thanks for joining me once again for the video analysis of the second half. I will start by mentioning that the analyses of Nepal’s play isn’t designed to humiliate the team. But rather, it gives us an opportunity for us to learn and to grow as a better team. After all, something has to change, and we cannot continue making the same mistakes. We all want to raise Nepal’s standards so they can play in the World Cup someday. So with this understanding, I shall begin!

The second half was very defence heavy for Nepal as they attempted to limit the goal difference as much as possible. This resulted in some good bit of defence play as you can see below. Two red shirts close in, limit his options, and force a corner. This is much better as the set-piece will allow for Nepal to organise themselves in the box to prevent a goal. There’s also a solid line at the back, which could be better if the central defender moved back a bit to double the mark. Essentially creating a triangle defence line.

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This is much better play from Nepal.  However this could be improved as there are unmarked strikers dangerously close to free space.

Though despite this tactic, Nepal pounced on the Azkal weakness with a few offensive bits of play. Here’s one where several options are available. But first thing is first. Why is the striker in such close proximity? Move about, find some space! The best option would be to let the close striker move down the free space, make a safe pass, move in line with the box, and wait for the cross. Of course, there are other options.
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Sadly the striker decided to go for glory himself and shoot the ball off target, and a bit wide. An easy save for the Azkal keeper.

Rohit Chand attempted a cleaver piece of play, which worked for Muller in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals against Manchester United. Where he fires the ball towards directly towards the defender, hoping for it to rebound into the goal. However, this is a tactic that is incredibly difficult to pull off. And so I commend Chand for trying this out. After all, friendly games are all about road-testing tactics.

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Needless to say, it didn’t work. And to make matters worse, there was a generous amount of space for one forward player. If Nepal exploited these weaknesses, I’m sure Nepal would be leading the game with a sizeable and comfortable margin. (For the Azkals, these weak points must be addressed in time before the AFC Challenge Cup, especially as there are teams that are far less forgiving than Nepal in this match.)

Defensively, Nepal started to appear a bit lax towards the tail end of the game. You’ve got to make a challenge, otherwise it’s just playground school-boy defending. Below you can see the safe pass options for the Philippines. There’s 6 of them. If were against a World Cup playing nation, this would have resulted in a goal-bound shot from the box.

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Close in on them, force a throw-in, corner them out. Do something. Anything. Instead of standing.  A couple of 1-2 passes and it would be all over. Thankfully, the Azkals had a breakdown of communication and the passes came to an easy save for Kiran Chemjong.

Now this situation here is quite tricky.  Here we have 1 Nepali defender leaving his mark for another player. In terms of off-ball intelligence, he should never leave his mark in these situations. Let another midfielder assume that position, the moment you leave your post. You leave your defence line vulnerable to an attack.  It is the midfielder’s job to take care of those outer players. Defenders, hold your position and put as much pressure on the strikers as possible. Football is a psychological game as well as a physical one. The more red shirts they see in front of them, the more pressure they’ll have.

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As we all learnt from SAFF 2013, straight long crosses does not play to Nepal’s strength. Despite this, all other options were out-trumped over firing the ball into the box (with only 1 red shirt in the vicinity). The only time you resort to this type of play is when we have a sizeable amount of red shirts in the area. This heightens the chances of it landing on a Nepali head or foot.  Regardless, short quick bursts is a better option in this case. Once again, it adds pressure and builds a rhythm. It sounds far-fetched, but rhythm has a lot to do with teams scoring goals. And as such, many teams develop tactical changes and training techniques in order to disrupt a team’s flow on match-day. So all in all; short passes. Off-the-ball intelligence (Move into areas with space) and exploit the defence.

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Finally, let’s look at final goal from the Philippines. This is the movement of disaster. The Azkals finally for their act together and exploited Nepal’s tired feet. Safe passes coupled with huge and generous amounts of free space. Well, that’s a recipe for a goal.

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Which happened in a span of less than 10 seconds. It’s this quick. Short quick bursts. And Nepal can do it too!

Thank you for joining me in analysing the faults in the Nepalese side. Friendly matches are an opportunity to learn, and build a better team. And hopefully we can become a much better team with this knowledge. But despite everything, win, lose, or die. We will support the Gorkhalis till we die!

So Team Nepal, don’t worry. We’ll always support you.

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56O47ayM_s0″%5D

(Ajax fans singing ‘Don’t worry about a thing – Bob Marley’)

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