Coach’s Corner: How to defend corner kicks

Pivotal Sport will bring regular insight from experienced futsal coaches to give teams hints and tips for setting up tactically in the future. Any questions or suggestions for things to cover message us on social media.


First up, former Dundee Futsal, Montrose and current Dundee University futsal coach Nuno Borges runs us through defensive corners:

“With the amount of corners happening per match, it’s important we narrow the opponents chances from the corner to a minimum, and force the ball as far and as narrow angle as we can from our goal.

Defensive corner set-up
  • Start shape in this instance is a 2-1-1 facing the ball, players 2, 4 and 3 forming a trio that prevents the ball coming through the middle directly.
    2 and 4 cut the pass between them, 4 and 3 cut the pass between them, 5 is backup for the front three and for the goalie.
  • Priority in defending corners is protecting the space, the box and the space right outside it especially in the central area. After the ball is played, and only after, do the defenders worry about man marking. Defender 2 will mark opponent 2, 3 marks 3, 4 will mark 4 and 5 marks 5.
Making the attacking side play to No 3 or 4 and shooting from range is less dangerous.
  • The aim is to close the middle and offer the opponents the way out that is least dangerous. Opponent 3, or ball over to 4, are the easier options for the defensive side to deal with.
  • The commanding voice is always defender 4 – he’s the one that needs to make sure the pass doesn’t go through, usually commanding 3 to push up or drop to narrow the gap between them.
  • Finally, and most importantly, how the action normally happens – fighting in the box to gain position over each other. Attackers want to sneak in the gaps in the box and gain position in front of the defender to be able to finish.
    Defenders, without compromising their shape, need to make sure the attackers never get in front of them, by fighting for their position in front.
  • The key is to close the middle, the danger zone defensively, and force the opponent down the line or to try to chip over – when the ball is played to either position, defender 3 will rush to press attacker 3 or defender 4 will press attacker 4 to block any shot.

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Next up: Zonal Defending