Preprint / Version 1

Duration, Score, and Timing: Factors Influencing the Success of Offensive Transitions in Top, Marginal, and Emerging Football Leagues


  • Pedro Eusebio University of Maia, Portugal; Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESD, CreativeLab Research Community, Vila Real, Portugal;
  • 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, Positive Outcome, Time, Soccer, Game Moments


Objective: The study aimed to increase our understanding of offensive transitions in football, focusing on the time spent executing them and how it is influenced by the period in which they occur and the instant score. The objective is to understand its temporal variables and how they influence the unfolding of the scoreline during a match. Methodology: This study analyzes 1649 goals resulting from offensive transitions in 1151 games across three leagues categories: Top, Marginal, and Emerging leagues. Multinomial logistic regression was performed to understand associations and predictors between the variables: “duration of a transition”, “Time of offensive transition occur” and the “score at the moment”. Results: The research reveals that, across all league categories, the last 15 minutes of the first and second halves, have the highest frequency of successful offensive transitions, particularly on the last 15 minutes of matches. In Top leagues, 69% of offensive transitions last for 9 seconds or more, with slower transitions more prevalent towards the end of games. In Marginal leagues, 41% of successful transitions took 13 seconds or longer, while in Emerging leagues, 53% of successful offensive transitions occurred when the game was not in a 0-0 state. The results show associations between all variables in Top Leagues. No associations were found in Marginal leagues. Associations between duration of the transition and the time of the game they occur were found on Emerging Leagues. Conclusion: These findings underscore the importance of tailored strategic plans for offensive transitions, to optimize scoring opportunities and performances.


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