Yanga crash to surprise defeat after Abdul injury
Reigning champions, Yanga, were surprisingly beaten 2-0 in Dar es Salaam by runaway Burundian Premier League champions, Atletico Olympic Bujumbura, on the opening day of the 2012 Cecafa Kagame Club Cup.
Newly appointed Yanga coach, Tom Saintfiet, took charge of his maiden game for the Tanzanian Premier League side, opting to start with a lopsided 4-5-1 formation; emphasising his team’s well known directness in the turnover and their effectiveness in dead-ball situations.
Influential full-backs, Juma Abdul and David Luhende, started on the flanks, with the more progressive of the two, Luhende, encouraged to move forward in the counter. Deep-lying central midfielder, Athuman Idd, was going to be crucial to the system, giving Yanga the option to switch the ball from left to right with speed and accuracy.
Burundian Premier League champions, Atletico Olympic, Bujumbura, went for a flat 4-4-2, with ex-TP Mazembe striker, Didier Kavumbagu, their primary attacking weapon.
Danger from set-pieces
A largely even first half saw both sides struggling to maintain a period of sustained possession. The most interesting aspect came from set-piece situations, where Yanga’s aggressive set-piece routines were particularly dangerous.
After the half-hour mark, Yanga were awarded a succession of corner kicks and used the same tactic three times in a row. Kelvin Yondan, Athuma Idd and David Luhende positioned themselves on the goal-line, obstructing the view of the Atletico goalkeeper.
Yanga’s Shamte Ally delivered crosses, from the right flank, into the six-yard area, prompting Yondan and Idd to make runs to the front and back posts, leaving Luhende to challenge for the ball in the centre of the six yard area. This creation of a congested six-yard area caused the Atletico defence a problem in clearing their lines effectively on a number of occasions in the first half.
(See the diagram below showing Yanga’s corner kick routine)
Yanga open up
Aware that his side needed to support Ugandan striker, Hamis Kizza, Yanga coach Tom Saintfiet changed the shape of the side in the attacking transition, from 4-1-2-3, to 4-4-2. In possession, this now allowed Kizza to drift in-field from the left flank, Niyonzima to fill the space vacated by Hamis and Tegete to lead the line with him. This change helped Yanga threaten on the counter attack in the early stages of the second half.
Yangas’ Shamte Ally and Juma Abudl provided the main supply line on the break. Athuma Idd would receive the ball in a central position, before switching play to the right flank for Ally and Abudl to combine and deliver crosses into the box. As the half wore on, the quality of Yanga’s passing from deep areas became increasingly wayward and their counter attacks fell apart quickly.
(See the diagram below showing Yanga’s change in shape in the attacking transition)
Atletico terrorise Yanga down the left
On 60 minutes, Yanga lost right-back, Juma Abdul, to an injury, forcing coach Saintfiet into a change that would result in his side losing the game. Ladislaus Mbogo replaced Abdul on the right side of defence. This move offered Yanga an option going forward but left them exposed down the left flank. Atletico were fully aware of Mbogo’s difficulty in one vs one situations and targeted this for the remainder of the game.
(See the diagram below showing the area of the pitch Atletico targeted following Abdul’s departure)
Atletico’s first goal, in the 80th minute, resulted from a positional mistake by Mbogo, allowing the Burundian’s to swing in a deep cross for Didier Kavumbagu to tap in from close range. Deep into injury time, Kavumbagu doubled Atletico’s lead when a long ball from defence landed behind Mbogo, leaving Yanga’s defense unbalanced and out of shape.
As keeper, Yaw Berko rushed off his line to close down the onrushing Kavumbagu, the Congolese striker confidently chipped the ball over him and into an empty net, landing the Burundian champions a surprise opening-day win.