Spot. Point. Ricardo Zielinskycoach of Studentshighlighted that the great objective of his team “is the Libertadores Cupeven if you have to pay a price for that”, after the valuable goalless draw achieved this Thursday in Brazil against Athletico Paranaensefor the first leg of the quarterfinals of the highest South American competition.

“We had planned this for a long time, because it had been 16 years since Estudiantes was in the quarterfinals of the Libertadores (there are actually 12, when in 2010 they were eliminated in that instance by the future champion, Inter de Porto Alegre) and the goal is to return the club to the international spotlight even paying the cost in the local competition”, argued Zielinski before the press at the Arena da Baixada stadium.

As he could, the PIncha knew how to hold the zero in Brazil.

“Because we are clear that the Libertadores is worth it and that is where we should aim our efforts,” remarked the Russian.responding to some questions that have arisen in recent times due to the poor performance of his team in the Professional League, where he ranks 22nd among 28 participants after 11 dates.

After the draw in which Pincha spent two moments of anxiety in which the VAR ended up intervening in his favor, first with an alleged penalty handball by defender Leonardo Godoy and then with a goal disallowed by Thiago Heleno due to a previous advanced position, Zielinski made a analysis of what has been done by their managers.

Ricardo Zielinski giving instructions to Pablo Piatti.  (EFE)

Ricardo Zielinski giving instructions to Pablo Piatti. (EFE)

“This time in Brazil we played as we always do as a visitor, developing intelligent and intense matches, for which we deserved to take the tie we achieved to La Plata,” he described. “These are 180-minute games and now it will be our turn to be local. But the concrete thing is that in a difficult scenario we were ordered and we lived up to what is the history of Students “stressed the coach born in Lanús 62 years ago in a demanding tone.

The match: Estudiantes brought back a valuable draw from Brazil

If the one who plays the best trick is the most skillful in reaching fifteen or thirty sticks, the same logic applies to soccer. When the cloth is hybrid and uncomfortable, and the rival has a superstar like Fernandinho on the pitch and a cup-bearing coach like Felipao on the bench, the priority is to prioritize intelligence over aesthetics. And Students did.

Zielinski took a risk by choosing the longest path to success: that of the custody of the bow. He covered the entire width of the court taking advantage of the laterals -Godoy/Mas- and three proletarian-style backs, but also closed roads with the Zuqui-Corcho pack avoiding the centralized attack. In this way, Paranaense’s attempts fell into the funnel, they were divided between mid-distance shots made in Fernandinho, searches behind the back of some unsuspecting central defender or free kicks, some spicy like the one that Andújar deflected down to Khellven.

Without Leandro Díaz, his #9 worker, and with Boselli just returning after that foot injury suffered against Fortaleza, the Russian understood that he had to close. But historically there were teams that gave the bottom a double push and lost by a landslide due to extreme disorder.

There was the great value of the work of Estudiantes: that they not only maintained order in all the lines -except for the last stretch of the game, perhaps exhausted and with Paranaense throwing centers that they won with some ease- but he had in Pablo Piatti an MVP who missed just two passes! in 69 minutesbut at the same time contagious because he went back to contribute to the defensive scaffolding.

What if Valenzuela interpreted that Godoy’s hand was a penalty and did not modify his initial decision via VAR?

What if Khellven was enabled to shoot the center of Thiago Heleno’s goal?

It is so true that these two VAR interventions -especially the first, since it depends on the referee’s appreciation; the second was an unobjectionable offside- they could have tilted the game in favor of Paranaense as if Pellegrino hit the bomb that he rehearsed from outside the area in the fourth minute of addition, Students would have taken a decisive step towards the semifinals and the planning would have been raised to the level of the epic.

The Argentine team could win, yes. And not only because of Longaniza Junior’s deflected shot: Castro knew how to stay hand in hand against Bento after an intelligent qualification parallel to the lime line. And Piatti was also positioned in front of the goal after an out of context exit by Cannobio, who failed and favored an attack that ended up going very high…

Students he won the point he needed. He stayed alive in a series in which he faced the least powerful Brazilian rival of those in this Cup, but who is still Brazilian… That’s why the zero-nil Paraná didn’t leave him dissatisfied…


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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