18/04/2024

Nuno Reis playing a long ball against Adelaide United. Photo: Dani Brown.

City defender Nuno Reis is starting to showcase his long range passing ability, assisting Andrew Nabbout's goal on Saturday night.

Portuguese defender Nuno Reis is making a habit of starting Melbourne City’s attacks with his array of passing talents and notched an assist against Adelaide.

It is no secret that Melbourne City has one of the most potent attacking trios in the entire league. The group of Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout, and Mathew Leckie is enough to strike fear in the hearts of defenders.

However, despite all of the attacking talent that Patrick Kisnorbo has at his disposal, it is one of his central defenders that has been key to starting attacks.

Nuno Reis has been putting his best foot forward this season both defensively and offensively. In City’s opening two games, the Portuguese defender has been a catalyst for kickstarting City’s attacks from defence.

Against Adelaide United on Saturday night, Reis provided a pinpoint long ball to send Andrew Nabbout on his way as he scored a superb goal with the outside of his foot to put the visitors 2-0 up.

In the club’s opening game against the Brisbane Roar, Reis utilized his superb passing ability by regularly spraying balls 40-50 metres out to City’s wingers in Leckie and Nabbout. This is an ability that not all central defenders have, and it is an important part of City’s attacking build-up.

Such is City’s positional dominance over teams, they control the majority of possession. What this does is force teams to defend, sometimes with two low blocks of four. This saturates the attacking third where no space can be found.

By controlling possession, City draws out their opponents and this can leave space on the flanks to exploit. This is where Reis and his long-range passing ability stand out.

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By utilising his passing skills, City can bypass the opposition’s midfield and get direct access to the back four. This can then leave the likes of Maclaren, Nabbout, and Leckie one-on-one with a defender. We have seen how that worked out for Nabbout against Adelaide.

While it is not used every time City possesses the ball, by having the passing ability of Reis and Curtis Good for that matter, there is another weapon in City’s arsenal. Especially when playing at home, Kisnorbo’s side is going to control large portions of the game and have the majority of possession. Visiting teams will tend to sit back and soak up the pressure.

Reis is proving his worth to Melbourne City with his sublime passing. (Photo: Dani Brown)

City can hit you several different ways. The midfield dominance of Connor Metcalfe, Aiden O’Neill, and Florin Berenguer is one thing. Add in the Socceroos attacking trio but then with the additional talents of City’s central defenders, it is a nightmare to combat.

It is certainly a nice option to have, ball-playing central defenders. It gives City’s attack a different dimension and one that they are getting the most out of.

If it was not hard enough to curtail City’s front three, now teams have to contend with defenders who can cut them apart with their sublime passing skills.

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