The aim of this study was to examine the effects of an early dismissal (after 5-min play) on work-rate in a professional soccer match. A computerised player tracking system was used to assess the work-rates of seven players who completed the match on a team with 10 players. A minute-by-minute analysis of the remaining 91min following the dismissal was performed for the total distance covered, the distance covered in five categories of movement intensity and the recovery time between high-intensity efforts for each player. The data were calculated for each half and for three equal intervals within each half and profiled against normative data for the same players obtained from the analysis of 15 games in the same season. Following the dismissal, the players covered a greater total distance than normal (p<0.025), particularly in moderate-intensity activities (p<0.01) and had shorter recovery times between high-intensity efforts (p<0.025). In contrast, there was a significant reduction between game halves for total distance covered at both the highest (p<0.025) and lowest running intensities (p<0.01). However, there were no differences in high-intensity activities across the three intervals in the second-half. These findings suggest that in 11 vs. 11, players may not always utilise their full physical potential as this match illustrated an increase in overall work-rate when reduced to 10 players. However, as a team with 10 players is likely to incur higher levels of fatigue, tactical alterations may be necessary and/or players may adopt a pacing strategy to endure the remainder of the match.
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