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Unlocking Dynamics of Goal-scoring

The Showdown Between Direct and Indirect Transition Goals Across Football Leagues


  • Pedro Eusebio University of Maia
  • Pablo Prieto-González Sport Sciences and Diagnostics Research Group, GSD-HPE Department, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh 11586, Saudi Arabia
  • Rui Marcelino University of Maia, Portugal; Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESD, CreativeLab Research Community, Vila Real, Portugal; Portugal Football School, Portuguese Football Federation, Oeiras, Portugal



Performance Analysis, Counterattacks, Offensive Transition, Elite Soccer, Game Moments


In contemporary football, offensive transitions have an extraordinary impact on goal scoring patterns. Finding the factors that most influence its achievement is crucial, to adopt strategies adapted to the characteristics of the team and the specificity of the championship played. The objective of this study was to provide an analyze the separate and combined impacts of various variables on the success of offensive transitions and their outcomes. The sample consists of 1151 games from nine different countries, grouped into three leagues groups: Top Leagues, Marginal Leagues, and Emerging Leagues. In these matches, the total of 1649 goals scored were classified as direct offensive transitions and offensive transitions resulting from positive outcomes. Binomial logistic regression analysis revealed that goals resulting from positive outcomes of offensive transitions represented an important percentage of total goals scored in all league groups (ranging from 20% to 23%). Offensive transitions played a crucial role in competitive leagues, contributing to approximately 47% of total goals. The top leagues showed an even higher proportion, with over 53% of goals originating from offensive transitions. All league groups highlighted the central zones of the defensive midfield as essential to initiate successful direct offensive transitions. In Emerging Leagues direct offensive transitions are likelier to succeed with three passes than two passes. In marginal leagues, the number of players involved, and passes are related to the starting area.

In the top leagues, the results emphasized the effectiveness of defensive pressure in specific areas and involving more passes and offensive combinations. However, only a small proportion (7%) involved long actions in their first actions. The findings contribute to understanding the tactical aspects of offensive transitions in football to make them more impactful in scoring.


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