Bolivian club Nacional Potosí hosted Venezuelan club Zulia last night in a Copa Sudamericana match, South America’s equivalent to the Europa League. Nacional had 79 percent possession of the ball and popped off a staggering 54 shots. Zulia took just six shots all night and completed just 47 percent of their passes. Somehow, Zulia won, 1-0.
Here are some highlights from the match, though the clips cannot do justice to what must’ve been the mind-boggling spectacle of one team shooting a zillion times and yet failing to score:
More helpful in conveying the sheer improbability of kicking the ball 54 times in the direction of the goal and never once beating the keeper is this graphic depicting Nacional’s 15 on-target shots, their 30 off-target ones (three of which hit the woodwork), and the nine that Zulia blocked:
If case you’ve forgotten what scoring actually looks like, here’s video of the match’s lone goal, scored by Brayan Moya two minutes into second half stoppage time:
How can this happen? I have no idea, though some knowledgable Redditors say it’s not uncommon for Bolivian teams to run up crazy stat lines like this at home against foreigners. The thinking goes that because away teams are unfamiliar with the particular effects playing at an altitude that almost qualifies as outer space (the city of Potosí sits more than 13,000 feet above sea level), Bolivian teams attempt to run like crazy and shoot with abandon in hopes of tiring out the opposition and forcing them to deal with the unpredictable trajectories of the ball as it sails through the thin air.
But kudos to Zulia for withstanding the tactic and realizing what no doubt must be José Mourinho’s most recurring wet dream.