Athletico Paranaense – Match Report vs. Palmeiras (03/03/2022)

Athletico Paranaense lost out on the Recopa Sudamericana after they lost 2-0 away from home in the second leg against Palmeiras. The visitors played in a 4-3-3 and were forced to defend throughout the entire game, as Palmeiras put high pressure on the Brazilians and did not give them much time on the ball. Athletico Paranaense occasionally could play their own game and tried to build up patiently with three central defenders and full-backs that pushed higher up the pitch. They were most of the time forced to play long balls towards Pablo though which did not prove to be effective. After Zé Rafael scored an amazing free-kick early in the second half, Athletico Paranaense tried to play more attacking football but they did not create many big chances. Danilo decided the game in the 87th minute with a good finish from close range to claim Palmeiras’s first Recopa Sudamericana title.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Khellven

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 25/02/2001
  • Club: Athletico Paranaense
  • Career: Athletico Paranaense
  • Position: Right-Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Khellven played as Athletico Paranaense’s right-back in this game and completed 85 minutes before getting subbed off. The Brazilian showed good defensive awareness and defensive decision-making when Palmeiras had a numerical superiority on the wing. In these 2v1 duels, one of the Palmeiras players would receive the ball near the touchline, while the other player would make an underlapping run. Khellven did well to cut the passing lane and did not blindly sprint towards the Palmeiras player that was in possession. In another situation, Khellven did well to stay in the defensive line when Raphael Veiga made a run in behind. Khellven knew that he was offside and made sure that he did not play him onside by tracking his run. The Brazilian right-back looked vulnerable in the defensive 1v1 duels on the wing. He did not look at the ball and changed his position when the opponent used quick feints to put Khellven on his wrong foot. This happened often and Khellven could not adjust his position on time after he got wrong-footed. He should stay more composed and look at the ball more in the 1v1 duels. In some duels, he tried to shield the ball as he was in front of his opponent, but he lost his balance quite easily and it did not seem like he had good body strength. Standing at 176cm with a toned body type, Khellven could have invested more in increasing both his lower and upper body strength to become stronger in these types of duels.

What Khellven did well is to always transition from attacking to defending quickly. As he was positioned high up the pitch close to the touchline when Athletico Paranaense were in possession, Khellven was required to cover big distances when Athletico Paranaense lost the ball near their own half. He did this well and always sprinted back quickly. Khellven also transitioned quickly from defending to attacking. He looked very dynamic throughout the match and ran up and down the wing quite quickly. Khellven has sufficient speed for this level but did not have explosive acceleration or pace over longer distances. In one sequence, Khellven helped Athletico Paranaense progress into Palmeiras’s box from his own half in just five seconds but his final pass was mediocre. The Brazilian right-back looked press-resistant and showed quick decision-making on the ball. He often played very good and accurate passes down the touchline. This helped Athletico Paranaense to play out of pressure and progress further up the pitch. His passing technique over short and medium-long distances is good.

As Athletico Paranaense were mainly defending throughout the match, Khellven did not get into possession (in the final third) often. However, when they were in possession in the final third Khellven liked to make underlapping runs. He started his runs at the right time and spotted space well. Khellven has a good crossing technique and got his crosses into good areas without creating any big chances. The 21-year-old sometimes made sloppy fouls in aerial duels. He was not composed enough and often tried to touch the ball with his feet, but instead, he made a foul as he kicked his opponent in the chest rather than touching the ball down. In the ground duels, he had the same habit of making sloppy fouls that were really unnecessary. Only rarely did he make a good interception.

Rating – A2

Khellven has good defensive awareness and decision-making, but needs to improve in the defensive 1v1 duels. He is a dynamic player who likes to combine with his teammates in small spaces but did not quite get the chance to do so that often against Palmeiras. This approach to the match did not suit Khellven that much, but I think he did relatively well even though he got dribbled past multiple times in the second half. I would like to see more of him in different matches where he gets to attack more.

Abner

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 27/05/2000
  • Club: Athletico Paranaense
  • Career: Ponte Preta (Y), Ponte Preta, Athletico Paranaense
  • Position: Left-Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Abner played as a left-back for Athletico Paranaense and completed the full game. Especially early on in the game, Abner sometimes looked uncontrolled in defensive duels. He liked to step out of the defensive line. In these situations, he tried to use his hands to push his opponent off the ball, but he was often not strong enough and got dribbled past quite easily as Abner lost his balance and his opponent could turn away from him. When Palmeiras were in possession in the final third on Abner’s wing, he would always close the gap towards his direct opponent. This means that he got into defensive 1v1 duels a bit further away from his own goal quite often. In the 1v1 situations, he was too passive and he too often allowed his opponent to either play a through pass or to carry the ball inside. In the isolated 1v1 duels on the wing with Dudu, Abner looked vulnerable and the Brazilian did not react quickly enough to changes of directions by Dudu. Most of the time it seemed like Abner was nervous and not ready to be in those 1v1 duels with Dudu. The Brazilian left-back also allowed Dudu to make runs in behind after the same Dudu came short. Dudu turned around quickly in these situations and made a run in behind. Abner failed to react quickly to those turns and immediately lost ground, which meant that he had to close gaps quite often.

The Brazilian did not show great receiving skills in the match against Palmeiras. He sometimes struggled to control diagonal, aerial passes with his feet after making a good run in behind. He had a better touch when he used his chest to touch the ball down. In the few moments that Abner got into possession in the final third, he had excellent vision to create a big chance for Athletico Paranaense. The left-back put in a strong cross over the ground but Pablo missed the ball and could not convert the chance. He also proved his good vision later in the game after he carried the ball inside and spotted a good run in behind. Unfortunately, Abner did not quite reach his teammate as the pass was intercepted. However, it was promising that he spotted that run and it indicates that Abner has good vision. Abner has a good crossing technique, but his delivery was quite inconsistent in this match even though he created a big chance for Pablo.

Abner has good passing technique over both short and medium-long distances. In the first phase of the build-up, he sometimes stayed on his own half where he received the ball quite often. Abner was more involved in possession than right-back Khellven. The Brazilian left-back mainly played risky sideways passes or passes backwards. His passing was good and consistent though. Standing at 181cm with a slim build, Abner was quite quick over short distances and he was capable of maintaining that speed over longer distances. The Brazilian was quite agile but always came second-best against Dudu.

Rating – A2

I think he will be much better in matches where Athletico Paranaense can play their own game against weaker sides. He has the potential to play at a higher level in a possession-based side, but I need to see more of him to fully determine his potential.

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