TCC Cup: How Valiant FC used 'Catenaccio' to outwit Gbagada FC in the final

Valiant are the defending champions of TCC cup

TCC Cup: How Valiant FC used 'Catenaccio' to outwit Gbagada FC in the final

Izuchukwu Akawor 17:50 - 11.04.2023

A Valiant display from the Brave Army saw them complete a remarkable turnaround to see off Gbagada en route to a historic day for the club in the TCC Cup.

In a highly competitive and keenly contested final, Valiant shocked their most illustrious opponents Gbagada FC at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena at the weekend.

Gbagada were the favourites for the TCC Cup title and it was no surprise that the Blue Eagles looked home and dry after the opening half of the game.

A strong start from the Eagles saw them dominate the first half and looked comfortable heading into the break with a 2-0 lead.

Issa Jamiu opened the scoring with a close-range header before Segun Alfred doubled the advantage with an excellent strike from 25 yards.

But Valiant won’t go down without a fight and came out blazing hot in the second 45 minutes.

A brilliant team move early on saw them half the deficit before getting the all-important equaliser 14 minutes from time.

TCC Cup final
Valiant youngsters in a hurry to get the game restarted after the second equaliser.

They went on to take the final 6-5 on penalty, a shock result that their manager revealed was a result of a solid defensive performance from the Catenaccio playbook.

What I told my Valiant players

Speaking to Pulse Sports Nigeria, the expectedly excited coach of the team, Owolabi Mustapha, revealed what he told his players at the break and how a solid defensive performance propelled his side to a historic win.

TCC Cup winners Valiant
Coach and his Valiant players celebrate their win.

“I let them know that this TCC cup final is played once a year and they just need to go out there and improve on themselves,” Mustapha said.

“If not, they will need to wait for another probably 11 months or 12 months before they can get that kind of chance.”

TCC Cup final
Valiant players in estacy after their win over Gbagada.

“So, I let them understand what the aim of Cup is - you need to develop and the part of development is improvement and if you improve, with time you develop. So I let them know in the second half of the game, they need to change the rhythm of the game.

They need to start playing the way people know he has been playing, leaving anxiety out of it and they will get the best out of them.”

On what the players did well

Speaking further, the young coach praised his youth side for their defensive display which he attributed to Catenaccio.

“You know, one thing that they did right in the second half compared to the first.was that they kept possession of the ball," he added.

"Then, I saw some Catenaccio in the game.  Catenaccio is a strong defensive system. They (his boys) were tactically aggressive and precise in their play.”

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