Álvaro Montero, the Millonarios goalkeeper who was a figure in the key match of the star 16, had all the information from the Atlético Nacional collectors at hand. Literally: a label attached to the bottle that he carries before matches and that he leaves inside the goal summarized how and where his rivals normally kicked.
This analysis is only a small part of a job that is increasingly going to become a key piece for technical bodies. At Millonarios, two people are in charge of him: Alejandro Correales, a tactical analyst, and César Castro, a video analyst.
Correales, 30 years old and a fan of Millionaires from the cradle, began to voluntarily show up for training so that Alberto Gamero could get to know his work. He started in 2021 and the first year he did it solely for fun. Later, the club hired him.
“I have always been passionate about soccer, but I began to study the subject of strategy when I was working in a strategic communications company. I realized there everything that is behind the final project. I became interested in that topic in soccer,» Correales told EL TIEMPO.
”I am doing a football coaching career in Scotland, with the Scottish Federation. I am currently a Uefa type B coach, and little by little I got more into the subject of tactics and strategy. I also did a course on the subject with Lucas González, the former coach of Águilas Doradas”, added.
In his first days as a volunteer, Correales gave Gamero daily reports of around 60 pages. Over time he polished them at the request of the technician. Today they are a key piece for work.
Not only penalties: this is how they prepare goalkeepers
The preparation he did for the final not only included the shoot-off from the penalty spot, but many aspects of the game, but the fact that the game had come to that gave value to that report.
“We meet with the goalkeepers, we show them the actions of the forwards that we believe represent a greater threat to us. In the case of Nacional, we knew that Dorlan Pabón has a very good punch. It’s not just penalties, it’s also shots, even corner kicks, so that the goalkeeper is also closer to the player he’s going to face.» explained.
Correales told what was on the label on the Montero bottle. “Basically, we included the main collectors, which in this case were Dorlan, Jarlan, Duque and Candelo, and we did an analysis of where each player charges depending on the game situation. It is not the same to take a penalty when you are winning than when you are drawing or losing. When they are winning, they kind of take more confidence and then they take a little risk. They change their style a bit. When they are drawing or losing, they have a comfort zone, where they feel that they make the goal safe. There was the player’s name, an image of the goal with the places where they normally shoot and the information on where they charge and at what height, depending on the match situation”.
However, the surprise factor also includes. “The experience of the goalkeeper contributes. In Jefferson Duque’s penalty, when Montero covered it, that is intuition: the data said that Duque kicked to the goalkeeper’s right and he did it to the left. In the second, Montero jumped to the right and Duque kicked to the left again, ”he said.
The bottle, in the long run, is an anecdote. The data and the judicious work of Correales and Castro is also a key piece of the Millionaires title and shows how new technologies are here to stay.
Jose Orlando Ascencio
sports deputy editor