Cruzeiro’s formidable Mineirão stadium: Home to 70,000 fans
Only two Argentinian teams have won in Cruzeiro’s fabled stadium in the last 34 years. Boca and Velez.
Alejandro Sabella, Estudiantes manager might want to use Osvaldo Piazza’s tactics that won Velez their match in the 1996 Supercopa Sudamericana. The recipe will be similar to Guus Hiddink’s ploy of putting as many defenders behind the ball and clog up the passing lanes which proved so effective against Barca in the first leg of this years CL semi-finals.
Piazza put men behind the half line who patiently soaked up the Cruzeiro onslaught. This wait and watch approach paid dividends off as an exhausted Cruzeiro increasingly relinquished the ball leading to mistakes. One of them cost them the game as Omar Asad was fouled in the box and Jose Luis Chilavert stepped up to score a penalty.
Estudiantes could employ the same tactics and hold Cruzeiro at bay for 20-30 minutes and then start finding ways to attack. As Piazza said it “We must overcome the euphoria of the 60,000 fans who will not stop screaming and jumping.” The Argentinian club is not obligated to win; the Cup can be decided by penalty shootout.